Sundance 2010 Review: RUNAWAY

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
February 4th, 2010

Score: 7/10

Writer/Director/Animator: Cordell Barker

What happens when all the resources are used up? That’s the question that Cordell Barker’s animated short RUNAWAY begs, as a train heads down an ill-fated track. As the steam engine begins to run out of coal, the conductor enlists the help of the less wealthy, less fortunate passengers in the second car in order to benefit the wealthy patrons of the first car. Little do they know that they all seal their own fate as they selfishly consume and avail themselves of the entire train, pulling it apart piece by piece throwing it into the fire, only to barely get themselves over the hill and down it resulting in a conclusion that burns up in flames. But do not fret, the cow that once occupied the track lives to see another day.

Barker’s Charles Schulz-esque short, which was on the shortlist for this year’s Academy Awards animated short category, is a charming yet dark look at our current environmental situation. The film is a fable of sorts, showing what could happen if we use up all our sustainable resources now, leaving nothing for the future. And yet nature, like the cow, presents that bit of hope and optimism that life will go on.

Let’s hope this hopefully optimistic, and delightful, short is right about one thing and not about the other.

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