Fri 13 Dec 2013
$9.99 is a very special kind of film. It combines a very classic style of animation called ‘stop-motion’ which I remember being used since the 60s in the East-European animation movies with modern and realistic setting, all based on a collection of touching and in many cases surprising and even disturbing stories written by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Whie many of Keret’s original stories are located or inspired by his home city of Tel Aviv, the action this time is moved to some undisclosed metropolis, which could be in Australia, could be in Israel, could be in almost any place on Earth.
The stories develop in parallel with some intersecting threads. An angel befriends an old and lonely man, gives him company and some hope, but is he an angel? A kid dreams to become a football star and to buy a footballer action man, but his father turns aside his dream to a more concrete educational goal which may become a dream by itself. A young man tries to find his purpose in life from 9.99$ motivational books, and finds the lost connection with his uncommunicative father in an un-expected way. His brother falls for and beds the girl of his (and many men’s) dreams but this relationship may demand unexpected sacrifices.
All the stories start in a conventional manner, we seem to know the characters, they can not only be neighbors in the same building but neighbors of ours as well. All the stories develop in ways we do not expect, and some end badly. Yet, there is a feeling of humanity and intrinsic kindness that is shared by all and the overall effect is unexpectedly positive, although at the end I cannot really point why. Maybe, for sure actually the fine cinematography, the voices belonging to such actors as Geoffrey Rush or Samuel Johnson play a role. This film delivers more charm than one can expect.