$9.99 is a pretty odd title for such a beautiful and profound claymation movie. I mean, put in all that work and then choose the worst possible title. But I digress, $9.99 is an insightful and intelligent movie definitely worth watching. It’s not a movie for kids despite its bright color palate and stop-motion animation. I mean, a guy kills himself with a gun within the first five minutes of this R-rated movie. Additionally, I think this is the first time I saw full-frontal claymation nudity. The movie’s worth seeing for that scene alone.
And while we’re on this subject I would like that add that I really liked this blend of claymation and almost unnoticeable CGI. It made the scenes come to life more so than in regular claymation movies. However, the best thing about the movie $9.99 is the story. It is rather depressing but so is life. At least we will get a lot of jokes and funny one-liners to brighten things up. After all, I found it most liberating to face these issues head-on and with a healthy dose of cynicism and nihilism.
The characters we’re going to meet feel familiar and realistic. Who knows maybe you even know some of them. Or you’re one of them. We’re all in this mess called life trying to figure out how to move forward. When you combine this with a disarmingly cute animation you got yourself one hell of a movie. I almost forgot to mention that it’s based on a collection of short stories written by Etgar Keret.
Meet Dave, an unemployed man looking for a job and meaning of life. His quest was relatively unfruitful one until he set his eyes on a particular book. This book says that it will uncover all the secrets of life for the low low price of $9.99. And so another chapter in Dave’s life begins. And the same can be said about his neighbors living in a huge residential building in Sydney, Australia.
I’m trying real hard not to get too philosophical on ya because it’s very easy to lose yourself in these elusive subjects. They’re very open to interpretation and so is this movie. We will all take away different concepts from it but the important thing is that we will finish it smarter than we started it. Or at least that’s what I think. The cast was pretty good led by charismatic Geoffrey Rush and relatable Anthony LaPaglia as Dave.
I’m also resisting the urge to call $9.99 quirky or oddball comedy. Mostly because there are so many movies you could call the same and this one is very different from them. It feels like it’s coming from a heart. And as all things coming from the heart, it can be a little difficult to watch. Luckily, the runtime is just 75 minutes so that should help with any concerns you have. If you’re looking for similar adult claymation movies, do check out Mary and Max. I will leave you with a quote from one of the American great poets Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones:
Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we get high ‘Cause you never know when you’re gonna go
Nas – Life’s a Bitch
Director: Tatia Rosenthal
Writers: Etgar Keret, Tatia Rosenthal
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Joel Edgerton, Claudia Karvan, Barry Otto
Fun Stuff: You can see a record in this film called “The Dark Side of the Room” by the band Pink Wall. This is a play on words of Pink Floyd, The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon