Director: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson (2016)
Puppets and traditional stop motion animation are used bring this former stage play to surreal life.
It offers a bleak view of middle aged angst as it explores the different effects of the participants of a one night stand.
The puppets have an organic quality capable of great nuance, as well as being able to pee, smoke, drink and have sex.
David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as the voices of Michael and Lisa who meet in a hotel.
He is the principal speaker at a conference for call centre workers she is attending.
An unpleasant and practiced predator of weak and vulnerable women, Michael exploits his minor celebrity in world of customer service despite having a family at home.
The versatile Tom Noonan plays everyone else from the taxi driver to the concierge.
Beautifully lit and carefully framed, Michael moves in an isolated world of hotel rooms, bars, taxis and airports.
The frustration and mechanisation of modern life are symbolised by Michael’s purchase of an automaton from a toy shop for the discerning gentleman.
This technological dependance is pointed to as the prime cause for modern day isolation while also suggesting this is not a new phenomenon.
Using animation instead of live actors adds to the nightmarish tone but doesn’t compensate for the light plot.
And as arch observational humour slowly metamorphoses into the relentless glare of existential despair, it becomes a wearying watch.