This is the story of a young boy named Brendan who lives with him uncle who is the head of the monastery, Kells. They are living in a time where invaders are pillaging and killing small villages and Brendan’s uncle is obsessed with building a wall he thinks will keep them out. He has forbidden Brendan from ever travelling outside of the walls. Then another monk, brother Aiden, comes to Kells and he is the holder of a book that has the most amazing illuminations in it. The book is supposed to change with life of anyone who reads it, but it isn’t finished yet. Brendan’s uncle has also forbade Brendan and the other monks from doing any illumination because he wanted everyone to be as consumed with the building of the wall as he was. When brother Aiden came however, he inspired Brendan to want to see his illuminations. Aiden sent Brendan into the forest to find berries he needed to make ink, and he went. This was Brendan’s first rebellions against his uncle and he was very nervous and got lost in the forest. There he meets a wolf who turns into a girl, named Ashley. She’s a fairy and befriends and helps Brendan. On the way back to the monastery they come across an evil presence which we deal with later. So Brendan studies illumination under the tutelage of Aiden and things are progressing quite well until Aiden realized he lost a glass that helps him do the most intricate work, and the name of the glass shares the name of the evil presence Brendan and Ashley passed in the forest. So Brendan takes it upon himself to fight this beast for the sake of the book that will change the world.
This film is a visual masterpiece. Everything is geometrical. At first glance the animation looks juvenile and simple, but the scenes are so well laid out and intricate. The characters are very geometrical in nature, and when they run in a group they form a single shape. The cracks or shapes in between objects or objects themselves are all patterned.
One flaw I found in the film was that the monks were all of different nationalities and the portrayal of their different nationalities was really racist, almost offensively so. They weren’t a large part of the film though, so it didn’t bother me as much as they would have if they’d played a larger role.