DIR/WRI: Kirsten Sheridan • PRO: John Wallace • DOP: Colin Downey, Ross McDonnell • ED: Kirsten Sheridan • DES: Emma Lowney • Seána Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, Shane Curry, Ciaran McCabe, Jack Reynor
Films about societal differences and youth culture in Irish cinema are nothing new. They’ve been covered from almost every available angle – from this year’s harrowing What Richard Did to the charming Kisses. With Kirsten Sheridan and her new film, Dollhouse, the focus is, yet again, on the gap between rich and poor amongst youths in Dublin and, as well, teenage life and experiences. The film takes place in an opulent South Dublin during a hedonistic house party. Jeannie, played by Seana Kerslake, leads a group of four inner-city youths (Shane Curry, Johnny Ward, Kate Brennan and Ciaran McCabe) into the seaside property with the intent of drinking the place dry and destroying it. The film’s dialogue is, for the most part, improvised by the actors and the whole film has an unplanned, naturalistic quality to it. Scenes are played out to a dull soundtrack with the gang becoming increasingly boisterous and drunk.
As the film progresses, it’s revealed that Jeannie has an intimate knowledge of the house and its owners and, as well, is suffering from very serious mental issues. The gang she’s surrounded herself with her are, for the most part, oblivious to this and seem uninterested in the fact that they’re destroying the house she used to live in. The film’s dramatic sequences feel unconvincing and forced; this is down to the inexperience of the actors working them and the poor script – or lack thereof. While some scenes can and do work better when improvised, here it seems that the word ‘fuck’ was added on to every sentence to make it seem convincing and real. Instead, it comes off as hollow and faked and takes the viewer out of the story completely. It’s painfully aware that the actors are trying to push the scene forward and get their own oar in whenever possible. Sheridan’s direction is manic and overuses montages to move the story along. Large chunks of the film are devoted to bland, expletive-filled conversations that don’t add anything to the film. These could have easily been cut down and edited to give the film more of a flow. Instead, the film’s uneven pacing and clunky dialogue leaves Dollhouse uninteresting and without any kind of emotional core.
- January 24, 2013 Report: JDIFF 2013 Launch
- December 9, 2012 Interview: Kirsten Sheridan – on writing and her new feature, ‘Dollhouse’.
- January 4, 2012 Kirsten Sheridan’s New Film ‘Dollhouse’ To Receive World Premiere at Berlin Film festival
- December 6, 2012 Cinema Review: Celeste & Jesse Forever
- March 18, 2013 Cinema Review: Red Dawn
- February 23, 2012 Cinema Review: Rampart – Film of the Week
- December 6, 2012 Cinema Review: The Oranges
- November 16, 2012 Cinema Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
- October 4, 2012 Cinema Review: What Richard Did
- March 18, 2013 Cinema Review: Welcome To The Punch