In this visually stunning drama, three romantic tales are told using elements of Japanese Bunraku puppet theater. In the first, Sawako (Miho Kanno) becomes suicidal when her fiance, Matsumoto (Hidetoshi Nishijima), leaves her to marry the boss's daughter. Next, an obsessed fan, Nukui (Tsutomu Takeshige), expresses his love for pop singer Haruna (Kyoko Fukada) in a highly violent manner. Then, aging gangster Hiro (Tatsuya Mihashi) attempts to reconnect with an old flame (Chieko Matsubara).
- Dolls review by Shatner's Bassoon
(2) of (4) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
Dolls is essentially three intertwined stories about relationships based on unfulfilled love. Takeshi Kitano presents his stories as a form of live action Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet play in which the puppets are the storytellers, and within 'Dolls' the human characters are the puppets whose actions are controlled by the strings of fate. The stories within the film revolve around three separate couples. The first couple are 'Matsumoto and Sawako'. When Matsumoto agrees to marry the daughter of his boss it's seen as a match which suggests a bright future for the couple, but during the wedding ceremony he discovers that Sawako, the girl he really loves, has attempted suicide. Although Sawako pulls through and survives her suicide attempt she is left with brain damage and Matsumoto leaves both his fiancée and secure job to become Sawako's lifelong companion and caretaker. The two lovers wander the Japanese countryside in silence, tethered to each other with a red silk rope, and as the seasons pass their love becomes stronger and more enduring. The second couple are 'Hiro and Ryoko'. Hiro is an aging yakuza boss who lives constantly in fear of assassination. He reminisces about a past girlfriend who brought him lunch every Saturday on the same park bench, and thirty years later he returns to find her again in the same park. The third couple are 'Haruna and Nuiki'. When successful pop star Haruna is disfigured in a car accident she refuses to be seen again in public. Her biggest fan Nuiki desperately wants to meet her, so desperate that he blinds himself so that she will agree to see him. Dolls is a very different type of film from Kitano, and proves yet again that he's a writer and director who refuses to be pigeonholed. While this isn't his best film, it's incredibly poignant, emotive, one of the most visually perfect films you will ever see, and reinforces his status as one of the best filmmakers there is.
I Think I'm Turning Japanese (not)
- Dolls review by JD
(0) of (1) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 2
This is the problem with watching world cinema. You feel that the reason you're not enjoying it is because you have not immersed yourself enough in the cultural origins. Japanese films of this genre seem to me to be very slow moving and to concentrate on repressed emotion expressed only in subtle facial movement, otherwise only to be guessed at. Do not watch if you are tired or in any sort of hurry. For Japaneseophiles only.