ASIAN FILM - Review
15:00 - 10th July 2016, by NEO Staff

Dolls

Third Window continues its high definition update of Takeshi Kitano’s back catalogue with Dolls, a film that really benefits from the makeover, despite being one of the director’s most critically divisive films when originally released in 2002

The film is split into three stories, each of which is inspired by the puppet theatre (bunraku) plays of Chikamatsu Monzaemon. Firstly, a woman becomes catatonic when her boyfriend leaves her to marry the daughter of his boss. This prompts him to abandon the marriage and run away with his former lover. They tie themselves together and aimlessly wander Japan. Their story overlaps with two others: an elderly yakuza searching for his former lover from years ago; and that of an injured pop star and an obsessed fan.

Sumptuous visuals characterise Kitano’s triptych on people finding love, with tragedy not far behind. The stories also question if the acts depicted truly are love. The only problem is that the first tale goes on too long. The latter stories involve much more interesting characters, but are fleeting in comparison to the initial couple’s saga (and are mostly silent throughout). This makes the film long by Kitano’s standards. The most lavish scenes come later, but we are accompanied by Joe Hisaishi’s great score along the way.

Nonetheless, because of the visuals, it’s now the best time to see it – on Blu-ray – for both Kitano fans and newcomers.

The engaging visuals and music benefit this tragic exploration of love – but the runtime does not…
SCORE: 3/5
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