In her relatively short career Kirsten Sheridan has established herself a respected filmmaker, having directed Enda Walsh’s film adaptation of the successful screenplay ‘Disco Pigs’ and co-screenwriter of her father Jim Sheridan’s ‘In America’ both project I enjoyed being part of. She also directed the big budget ‘August Rush’ in 2007 in Chicago and New York.
In Sheridan’s owns words ‘Dollhouse’ was experimental, it was a low-budget unscripted project which was shot over 21 days in one location, her parents’ home in Dalkey. Instead of writing a script Kirsten just wrote a 15 page treatment for the project with her parents’ house in mind. The actors never actually seen the treatment, Sheridan would just feed them bits of information as the shoot went on.
‘Dollhouse’ is a about a group of young adult’s break into an elegant modern house in posh Dublin neighbourhood in a very juvenile and uncontrolled manner they begin to trash the house. Very early on the plot we find out that one of the girls Jennie has a secret, one of the guys discovers Jenny featured in the family photos. She has not just broken into her own house but as it is revealed later on is breaking back into her own life with a purpose.
After the initial shock by the group as to why she would bring them there, they continue an orgy of booze and drugs that descends into to total chaos in the house. Further confusion is added when the D4 type boy next door (Jack Reynor) turns up, surprised to find Jennie has returned to the house and her unusual house guests. Strangely he then joins the group which adds a certain tension to the plot at first, before the group embark in some Déjà vu.
At times ‘Dollhouse’ was captivating and it had a certain tension but overall it didn’t quite deliver, and at times it felt very underdeveloped, the closing 15 minutes were strange as one of the cast said something on the lines ‘is this in the story’ another said I’m tripping ? Although said to shot in sequence there were some continuity issues. Saying all that this was a remarkable achievement by Kirsten, cast and tiny crew and is still worth of seeing for some good performances.
In a recent interview Kirsten referred to the fact that in Ireland (unlike the UK) crew rates are the same if you are shooting a major Hollywood blockbuster or a low-budget movie like ‘Dollhouse’. The industry in Ireland has been in a trance for years our competitiveness has fallen well behind our competitors. Its time Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) and The Irish Film Board start implementing the recommendations of the Creative Capital Report. How unfair is it to directors like Kirsten’s to make such a movie without adequate financial backing and yet SPI have dragged their feet in putting a policy in place for low budget movies.
‘Dollhouse’ is released in cinemas nationwide from, December 7. Directed by Kirsten Sheridan, with good performances from Seána Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, Jack Reynor, Ciaran McCabe and Shane Curry.
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© Tom Dowling 2012 photo from Dollhouse website.
Categories: Film and TV