Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson direct David Thewlis, Tom Noonan and Jennifer Jason Leigh in this stop motion puppet look at one man’s insidious depression.
Amazingly realised stop motion and the nuanced adult take on the trap of mental illness make this a very easy film to praise but equally a difficult one to love. The burbling, if perfectly realised, small talk reveals its strengths and weaknesses. Yep… it is humorously accurate in how it captures the frustratingly mundane interactions of strangers and those with nothing left to say to each other. But… if it was live action rather than the soundtrack to such richly realised animation, you would have walked out after twenty minutes. Crude humour, sex and fantasy eventually crash the Kafkaesque misery but really the only bastion of satisfying entertainment contained within this metaphor for clinical sadness is the one act spark of puppet romance. When that hope is inevitably dashed against the rocks, sacrificed for the point the film exists to make, I thought “Yes, very smart but how long now until I can leave.” Not a hotel room you’d want to revisit no matter how stunningly achieved or intelligently conceived. As a one off experience though, it is very effective.