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.
| Original Score: 3/5
| Original Score: 4/5
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.
A tripy, fascinating film mixing puppeteering with live action.
| Original Score: A
...this anthology of tragic tales is never dull and always a feast for the eyes.
| Original Score: B-
The cinematography is colorful and sweeping, the editing and storytelling simple and pure.
| Original Score: 3/4
There aren't many movies more visually beautiful than Takeshi Kitano's odd but moving "Dolls."
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.
A work both rigorously stylized and deeply personal.
Fascinating bits of behavior are scattered throughout these stories, but it cannot be said that the characters are fleshed out beyond their sentimental symbolism.
The movie's pace is appropriate to its mood, which is crisp, melancholy and gently cruel.
Though Kitano has called Dolls 'a puppet show with human characters,' there's nothing stiff or unreal about its intensity of feeling.
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Studied and stately, and restrained to the point of stasis, Dolls isn't for everyone. But it will provide loyal fans of Kitano, and Japanese art, a decided pleasure.
Rife with beautiful imagery and loads of symbolism, though none of the stories is particularly compelling on its own.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Lush and poetic, Dolls proves once again that Kitano is one of the world's most original filmmakers.