Stray Dolls Image

Stray Dolls

By Matthew Roe | April 10, 2020

For the most part, even as their actions become more extreme, the effects they endure as a result are rarely amplified to match, forgoing the development of the characters or plot for long scenes of silent adolescent brooding and angst. Also, when moments are able to pop through the slog of similar scenes, where the characters seem to be profoundly affected by what has happened and what they are doing, the revelations are so short-lived they might as well have never occurred.

These elements are further magnified by fairly odd directorial choices that make little logical sense. The viewers are provided minimal context by which to understand or at least accept why something is occurring. This is felt especially hard when the characters break into a school to steal prescription meds. They have Riz in tow due to the plot contrivance of being the only one seemingly able to pick locks. Now, this is put to use due to Jimmy forgetting the right key to unlock the cabinet.

“…meshing claustrophobic handheld angles and movement with smooth and sweeping drone camerawork.”

However, the nonsense builds because he possessed the right key to get into the building. Sadly, in addition to the disappointing lack of characterization, hardly any chemistry exists between the leads, and Dallas’ southern accent fades in and out as it pleases, and much like Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it’s a recurring distraction that never goes away.

There are several underlying elements which make the film an interesting conversation piece, especially when it soapboxes about current social issues, but it lacks the emotional resonance, consistent world logic, and engrossing characters that a story of this kind requires to keep it afloat. While I will keep my eye on the filmmakers as they continue to hone and improve their craft, as they possess a substantial amount of potential, there isn’t much in Stray Dolls that I can genuinely recommend.

Stray Dolls (2019)

Directed: Sonejuhi Sinha

Written: Sonejuhi Sinha, Charlotte Rabate

Starring: Geetanjali Thapa, Olivia DeJonge, Cynthia Nixon, Robert Aramayo, Samrat Chakrabarti, etc.

Movie score: 3/10

Stray Dolls Image

"…a petty crime, seemingly self-contained, initiates a rapid spiral into increasingly dangerous situations..."

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