Sunday, February 28, 2010

Strings (2004)

Strings has been one of those films that has stayed with me since I saw it. I've seen it a couple of times now and it just amazes the hell out of me. Its a film told entirely with puppets, marionettes actually, that uses the strings, the characters are very aware they have strings, as a plot device.

Trust me on this, what they do and how they do it is truly amazing and entirely not what you expect.

This is also not so much a film for kids. Yes I know its marionettes but this is a story that the adults are really going to like more.

In thrashing about writing a new piece on the film I revisited my piece on IMDB that I wrote in the wake of seeing the film for the first time. I think it is probably as good as I'm going to do in explaining the film. For that reason I'm going to present it here (with a couple of tweaks):

In a world of marionettes- the king of a great kingdom writes to his son, giving him the throne, asking him to find peace with their mortal enemies and warning against the evil of the king's brother. The king then commits suicide by cutting his head string. Unfortunately the king's act was discovered by his evil brother and the suicide is rearranged as a murder, the perpetrator members of the very enemy the king had wanted to find peace with. The Brother then sets in motion a vile plan to kill his nephew and seize the throne for himself.

So begins one of the most unique films I've ever seen. Sure there have been puppet films before, but none that I've seen that have ever embraced their limitations so well that they turn them into an asset. Yes, you see the strings, actually the strings are even more noticeable then they would be in a real live puppet show (and yes the characters are very aware that they have strings). The reasoning is two fold, first it creates a wonderful visual motif at times with shots using the strings to create beautiful images such as emphasizing a rain storm or the bars of a prison. The strings also are used symbolically to allude to how we are all connected, how we are often on a leash and how there may be forces (god/puppeteers) above us. Its amazing.

The best thing is that it's a great story. This is grand fantasy or grand adventure of the highest order. What happens is very human as we are forced to confront what we are told is the truth which often turns out not to be the case. It's a story of greed and hope, how your worst enemy can be your best friend, and how the sins of the fathers need not be visited on the sons. There is real pain and real danger. If this were a novel it would be a classic of the genre (and since the film is from Denmark there is more than a passing reference to a certain prince of Shakespeare).

Trust me, you will really love this. I sat on the floor of my living room doing some sorting, totally and completely enraptured by what was going on because even when I wasn't looking up I was listening to a well acted (Derek Jacobi as the villain in the English version) and fantastically written story. It's the type of tale you'd curl up with on a cold winter's night before going to bed.

Yea, I liked the film.

If you want to see a great adventure, a great story, see this movie. Please do not let the fact that its marionettes keep you from seeing it. This is not for kids, or rather too small ones, since there is death and darkness, and a plot that maybe hard for them to follow. It's a kick in the head and there's a chance, at the end that maybe it will even cause a tear to run down your cheek (its happened every time I've seen it).

See it if you get the chance.

This is readily available through your regular video sources Amazon, Netflix, ect.

No comments:

Post a Comment