"9.99" seems to be quite the under-the-radar movie. I myself only discovered this Australian stop-motion animated film in a session of aimlessly browsing through Netflix. I decided to watch it just because it's pretty short and I didn't really have anything else to do. But I'm really glad I watched this movie. Sure it's not the best thing ever made, and I did only rate it a 60%, but it is one of the most unique, inventive, and charming movies I've ever seen.
"$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".