Concessions Confession: A wholesome tale that never feels anything exceptional but is a simple delight none the less.
Log Line: Solving a simple convenient store robbery is an everyday case for child detective Agatha Christine. Making friends in a new neighborhood however, is not so simple.
Did you know that Agatha Christie, famed fiction writer went missing in 1926 for 10 days making headline news before being found in the Swan Hydropathic Hotel. While speculation ranged from her having severe memory loss, a mental breakdown, forging a publicity stunt, or even trying to frame her husband for her murder Christie never disclosed what this was all about. Pretty interesting, irrelevant yeah but I digress.
[My slight OCD is killing me. In all of the emails, and screener materials it’s “Agatha Christine” but on the poster it’s “Agathe-Christine” but the real life detective novel writer is “Agatha Christie”. All the other sources go with Agatha Christine but they all seem to be using the same source for their description and the end credits have it as AC…so it’s AC that’s what I’m going with.]
So maybe it’s because I watched it the same day as Artemis Fowl but this movie is…alright. Nothing special but compared to the former it was nice to see a movie remember what characters and a plot look like.
Nabospionen is a Danish animation film that is the feature length directorial debut of Karla von Bengtson. Despite the title being Next Door Spy, it is about a detective. Is the distinction between those more loose in other countries? Spies are more covert and secretive while detectives are an approachable business.
This film is endearing with its themes closing resembling Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions while having a cute storybook aesthetic that feels vaguely familiar to Charlie & Lola (If you understood this sentence completely, give yourself a cookie). Basically instead of being hyper focused on the mystery it more paints AC as a genuine kid who struggles with insecurities about her wild imagination and passion for her unusual hobby. This is mostly represented by a salamander which is introduced as an egg that AC picks up but slowly grows to speak and represent her inner turmoil. It’s a nice narrative device that also the audience to understands AC’s inner conflict and disclose her perspective in a clever way.
It’s hard to address mysteries without spoilers but it’s one of those that even kids should be able to figure out before the reveal and the only thing that keeps you from solving it sooner is blatant misinformation acting as a misdirect. I was kind of surprised that AC… is not very good at her job. Finding clues or attaching strings of logic together wasn’t all that impressive. It’s more that she’s persistent and nosy constantly spying on this boy she [doesn’t] like. It kind of gave the film a different flavor for me, this isn’t your typical mystery solver extraordinaire. AC is just a kid who has a passion for detective work and it’s more her childish imagination and cure for boredom then being her exceptional talent. Not every protagonist has to be some naturally gifted genius, it was neat just to see a kid solve a local mystery and deal with very suburb drama.
I think this is more something to watch with the kiddos then anything else, but I’m glad to see international animation getting a chance to react a wider audience.
Agatha Christine: Next Door Spy will be on various digital platforms 6/16 (InDemand, Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, AT&T, FANDANGO, FlixFling, Vudu).
Thanks to TriCoast Entertainment for giving me access to a screener for this review, be sure to check out my previous review for them Violence Voyager.