Cinema Review: Dollhouse


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.

Brian Lloyd

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
99 mins

Dollhouse is released on 7th December 2012

Dollhouse – Official Website


One Reply to “Cinema Review: Dollhouse”

  1. the worst film to date. personally i dont even know what the plot is, its a rubbish movie!! half the time i was thinking that jeanie and her boy friend were going to get killed but nothing so happens.

    worst movie ever!!

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