There’s an astonishing moment in the middle of a creation where the artist begins to discover that his work has taken on a life of its own and somehow managed to create itself. From animation, to written fiction, right down to ventriloquism, art can serve as a beast birthed from imagination that takes hold of both the designer and the world around it. “Puppet” is an interesting allegory for God, and the inherent self-loathing in the hand puppet a young man creates one day. As his hand takes on a life of its own, the rascal in question soon begins to think independently, indulging its master in some increasingly gruesome and bizarre punishments (from a face in a barbecue to smashing into a beehive) along with an identical partner it forcefully creates.
“Puppet” has many chances to be a kid’s film (especially with the expertly crafted whimsical score), but is more inclined in using the dependent character as a manifestation of the owner’s regressive desires. While Wilson never completely explains who this person is, we suddenly gain an insight into his repression that’s now become the tail wagging the dog. The more unrelenting it becomes, the more director Smith makes a statement about losing control of our own ideas, and the fascinating turns a simple impulsive work of free thought can have on the owner. Is this puppet some form of sentient being, or just the puppeteers excuse to inflict punishment on himself? It’s both a Frankenstein tale and a psychological study at the same time, and one that works on inspiring levels of horror and existentialism paired with some truly unique animation from Patrick Smith.