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This film is not for the shallow.
I guess the best way to start this review would be to list its ups and downs.

Pros:

Cons:
  • Too short. Way too short.
  • A plot and storyline that takes "Show Dont Tell" a little too seriously. The story outwardly appears to be shallow and derivative due to the very little Exposition, when it is anything but. Requires heavy interpretation to fill in the blanks.
  • Many interesting characters get very little screentime due to the film's short length.

The lack of story exposition is the main reason why the film received lukewarm reviews by critics. The director Shane Acker has stated that each of the 9 dolls represent one quality of human nature, with 1 being the most flawed and 9 being the closest to perfection. There is no 10th stitchpunk because there is no such thing as a 10/10 perfect human. 7 was female because everybody has a little bit of the opposite gender inside them, which is what unites both genders as human. 6's key around his neck is symbolic because he is the key to showing 9 the way to finding answers. This is all very, very deep, but since none of it is verbally touched upon in the film, a layman viewer has no way of appreciating the hidden symbolism. Then again, that kind of stuff is somewhat hard to convincingly express in a movie without seeming Anvilicious, so you have to credit Acker for throwing in all that stuff in the first place.

Many of the initial character descriptions that were written before the film had details that were never able to be touched on in the film due to the tight length. For example, 9 was originally described as wanting to discover the meaning of life. If this was explored in the film, a clear Aesop would be established.

The film was too short for my liking. I could sit through 2 hours of this! According to an interview, Shane Acker thinks that movies these days are too long. But for a film with this much depth, an hour and 12 minutes is rather insufficient. I think 90 minutes would have been better. There would be more time for plot exhibition and screentime for 2, 6 and 8.

7.9/10
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