"$9.99" is an engagingly offbeat stop-motion animated film that is intended for more mature audiences. It is not only the sex and language that warrant this caution but also the themes centered around loneliness.(The movie reinforces my theory that people who talk the most turn out to be the loneliest.) The Pecks are not the only household in the film missing a woman, either through death or a vanishing act, leading to melancholy for all. To escape the loneliness, it sometimes comes down to the crazy things we do for love. Otherwise, the characters go through the motions of their lives until either something very good or very bad happens and then the pattern repeats.
$9.99 is a stop motion claymation film that centers around an apartment complex in Australia and follows the tale of about eight or so of its inhabitants. To give you a sample: there is a boy who loves soccer and is saving up for a soccer toy. There is a father who witnesses two deaths right before his eyes and has two son's who aren't exactly successful. There is an old man who everyone ignores because he yammers constantly about his dead wife. And there is a stoner/alcoholic who gets faded and hallucinates about three miniature druggie friends.
I have to say... the intro to this film is really enthralling. I won't give it away but it definitely grabbed my attention. It's quirky, sad and violent which definitely covers the multiple tones of this film.
The characters and stories are sporadically interspersed and no one story gets priority over another. And I think because of that indecision it sort of holds the movie back. Some of the stories aren't that interesting in the beginning but about 20 minutes into the film one of the characters turns out to be a living Angel, with wings! Now the Angel of course is the most intriguing of the stories, which is why he is on the cover of the movie poster and also probably why an Israeli funded commission helped fund this film. Now I think if the film didn't have the angel $9.99 wouldn't have kept my attention the way it did. I stayed attentive because I wanted to know the significance of the angel. However the Angel story doesn't come to a conclusion like some of the others which drove me crazy! All the other stories had a solid but not always satisfying ending. However the angel story just sort of "dropped off" (inside joke). I understand the angel changed these characters lives in some way and manner but why did he change their lives and why not all in the same manner either positive or negative?
Perhaps there is some biblical homage that I don't understand because I'm not that well read in religious texts but I find this to be the biggest detraction from the film. Also I don't mind the surreal hallucinations by the druggie but the story about the man who shaves himself to satisfy his lover - WTF happened at the end!? Is that real or not real? I can't tell you what happens because it ruins the surprise but lets just say some world mechanics were definitely broken.
All in all the film is quite idiosyncratic and moves at a very odd pace. I think if I were stoned this movie might have been too much to handle, but definitely check it out if you have an open mind and like seeing weird things.
"$9.99" is about the residents of one Sydney apartment building, all of whom have some major issues. The movie, without travelling more than several blocks away from the central building, explores how they all solve, or in some cases fail to solve, these problems. The plot itself is pretty unoriginal, but the way it's presented is really nice.
All of the characters in this movie are clay figures. These clay figures don't really look anything like actual people, and they're even less realistic than things such as "Wallace & Gromit" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox". But the style works. The attention to detail in sculpting the figures is phenomenal, and they manage to tell the story really well. Actually, all of the aesthetics of the movie are great. There are some great shots of the buildings and people that make the whole world look tiny, which is the feeling that the film tries to put out. The score is also excellent, so everything sounds great as well as looks great. And perhaps most importantly, the voice talents, headlined by Geoffrey Rush, do a great job as well.
My biggest issue with "$9.99" is, ironically, the length. I have ADD, so I often complain about movies being too long (cough cough, Zodiac, cough cough), but this one was too short. Despite the shortness being the original reason I watched the movie, I felt that some of the characters were not explored deeply enough, and some of the conflicts never got resolved. I know that last issue is largely intentional, and I grant them that, but it still felt rushed to me.
I guess writing this review was a big waste of time on my part, as most of you will never see this movie you've probably never heard of, but I had something to say about it. And I urge you to go out on a limb and see this unique and frankly weird little movie. Although the plot isn't perfect, I promise that you'll find some great affection for "$9.99".
It's a fun movie, worth a rental at the very least.