The beauty of animation is that it allows for a distorted and stylised version of reality that is quickly accepted by the audience. If a film ventures into the realms of surrealism it runs the risk of being shunned, but a cartoon can get away with a lot more, just look at the The Ren & Stimpy Show, or even SpongeBob SquarePants. These animations are bizarre and otherworldly, but also beloved and accepted by the very same people who might sneer at the beautiful City of Lost Children, or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Key Lime Pie really, really, makes the most of these advantages, in that the world it creates is so deliciously insane that you can feel your mind falling apart, like a soft biscuit, while you watch it. The protagonist of the film, Mitch Bernstein, is a bloated, madman hellbent on self destruction in the darkest, and most surreal, film noir you’re likely to see. His love of Key Lime Pie takes him to the very edge, where he proceeds to dive-board into madness and oblivion. Mitch knows his obsession with Key Lime Pie is a death sentence, a heart attack waiting to happen, but even as Death turns up to pay him a visit, Mitch isn’t about to give up on the greatest high he’s ever known.
Key Lime Pie is just three and a half minutes long, and it milks every second, creating a surreal nightmarish world that is a joy to watch. The animation is accompanied by Bernard Herrmann’s fantastic Vertigo theme, and the voice-over work is perfect, almost out-doing the brilliant artwork itself. Key Lime Pie is wonderfully intense, making the most of it’s noir theme with grizzly blacks and leering whites, blending both the familiar feel of children’s cartoons with the smashed-up mind of a raving lunatic.