The Thief Lord review

The Children's Film Foundation lives on in this bizarrely old-fashioned kiddie romp, a sort of Emil And The Detectives transplanted to Venice with a cast of plummy-voiced stage-schoolers and not one Italian accent in earshot. Based on the novel by Cornelia Funke, it's the story of two orphans who run away to the city of gondolas and fall in with a teenage Robin Hood. Hounded at all turns by Jim Carter's bumbling private eye, our young heroes seek the final piece of a magic roundabout with the power to reverse time.

Though Richard Claus' effort comes with the usual array of slumming Brit-thesps (Vanessa Redgrave, Alexei Sayle), it's too reliant on its charmless leads to appeal beyond the kid crowd. For anyone older, the prospect of turning back the clock and avoiding the cinema will look mighty appealing long before the flick's CGI-heavy climax.

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