Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 10
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Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 10,065
Master filmmaker Takeshi Kitano returns behind the camera for the first time since his indifferently received English-language effort Brother (2000) with this operatic tale of lost love. Dolls takes puppeteering as its overriding motif -- specifically, the kind practiced in Bunraku doll theater performances -- opening each section of his film with a story provided by the puppets and their masters, which relates thematically to the action provided by the live characters. Chief among those tales
Sep 5, 2002 Wide
Mar 8, 2005
Palm Pictures - Official Site
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The cinematography is colorful and sweeping, the editing and storytelling simple and pure.
It's all as passionate, refined, and insistently sad as Bunraku puppetry itself.
Dolls isn't a film for everybody, especially the impatient, but Kitano does succeed, I think, in drawing us into his tempo and his world, and slowing us down into the sadness of his characters.
Devoted fans of Kitano will want to see Dolls. Others may be put off by the dirgelike pace (Kitano takes full credit for the editing) and a ghastly, mood-destroying pop-music number performed by Fukada.
The movie's pace is appropriate to its mood, which is crisp, melancholy and gently cruel.
There's a clinical stillness to the way Kitano suggests the inevitability of loss, his always-arresting visuals and the disembodied, ambient soundtrack framing the characters at a quizzical distance.
The stories have a fateful, lonely feel, like one of Wong Kar-wai's missed connections. Yet their tragic timelessness, and the lovely, aching pace at which they are told, bring them to a level of extraordinary beauty.
...this anthology of tragic tales is never dull and always a feast for the eyes.
There aren't many movies more visually beautiful than Takeshi Kitano's odd but moving "Dolls."
Fascinating bits of behavior are scattered throughout these stories, but it cannot be said that the characters are fleshed out beyond their sentimental symbolism.
If occasional pretentious doodling like this is what it takes to keep Kitano's copious creative juices flowing, so be it. The Great Ones are allowed the occasional snoozer.
Since Dolls is told in a somnambulist manner, the stories become languid and staid.
Kitano succeeds on the strength of his images, but it's a very near thing.
Weighed down by heavy-handed sentiment and largely free of [Kitano's] trademark dark humor, Dolls is still a compelling work from a genuine talent.
Probably one of the most unusual testaments to love's enduring power in recent memory.
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