22 September 2019 | bob the moo
Difficult due to length and pacing, but rewarding and very well done
Dolls Don't Cry is not your typical online film. Much like the stop-motion process, a lot of time passes and very little actually happens. We watch a male animator working on a stop-motion film with rabbits as the main characters, while after-hours a woman comes to the room to repair the characters and construct new items for the film. The woman is the focus as she notices a presence in the studio, one that connects to her for growth - although I've suggested more action in those few lines that most of the film delivers.
It moves slowly, and runs to 20 minutes, and for the most part it is very light on any sort of event or development. It does have a consistently oppressive tone of stillness and discomfort though, and if you like this type of tone then this will work for you. I do like it, and generally things that make me feel uneasy and tense work better than gory horrors or thrillers. This builds well in this space, particularly as the character in the cupboard grows and develops within the film. The ending worked well for me even though my immediate reaction was to think it was too obvious, but it fitted well and I had not seen it coming.
The animation is brilliant throughout, and I really liked the rabbit animation within the animation. The technical delivery is only one aspect though, but the real skill is in making these static silent figures feed into the tone. Two examples that stick with me is the sudden small touches of expression on the doll's face just after she brings the shoes out to the woman; but I also really liked the violence of the rabbit animation which we see as the actual film plays out its final scenes.
Not an easy watch due to it asking a lot of patience from the viewer, but it is well worth it for what it does and how well it does it.