First Hit: A dynamically interesting film with many layers of meaning the more I think about it.
Are the layers I see in this film of my development or was the intent of the film to have these layers or was the intent to just have us being thinking?
I don’t know and I’ll share a couple of the layers I’ve considered and neither of these are necessarily predominate in my thinking about the film. One layer is that Michael Stone (voice by David Thewlis) seems to become indifferent with any woman after he’s been intimate with them. He’s fascinated with them in the beginning and once physical intimacy happens, he begins to see and become critical of the person. I think that both men and women have had the experience of seeing someone different after sexual intimacy, I know I have.
Another layer is that Michael sees everyone as the same. This is juxtaposed with his character being the leader in how to deliver customer service by seeing each person as a unique individual. This juxtaposition is effectively created by having Tom Noonan be all the other character's voices (except Michael and Lisa’s).
Regardless, man or woman the voice is pretty much the same and while animated faces are also very close to looking like each other as well. Then from a "look" point of view, we have Michael with a strong unique look (is this how we see ourselves?), and everyone else is seen as having a more generic look. Lastly, with everyone in this film having their faces made of separate pieces/segments (no other body parts are drawn/animated this way) it is interesting that the only the faces are developed/drawn in this way.
This concept transitions to an interesting scene when Michael is hurrying down the hall of the hotel and the lower half of his face falls off. When it comes off, I wondered about everyone's faces being interchangeable. Anyway this is a fully animated film that is definitely of an adult orientation. The love making scene with Lisa (voice by Jennifer Jason Leigh) is very powerful and real.
This film is amazing in its presentation of the details of the body. Watching hair slightly move, the way Michael throws his hotel key down, the way the red lights as the door key doesn’t work – fascinating. The script for Lisa’s character was superb. Vulnerable and self-effacing, she becomes a voice of strength.
Thewlis carried Michael’s struggle well and was a great choice. Leigh was sublime as Lisa’ voice. It perfectly honest in its characterization. Tom Noonan created wonderful characterizations of the other voices. Charlie Kaufman wrote an amazing script. It captured human emotion and feelings extremely well. Duke Johnson joins Kaufman in directing this amazing story in an animated film.
Overall: This is a complex film with many layers and levels and will leave you wondering for days afterward.