Review: ‘Sex Doll’ is a lot less interesting than it sounds

Sex Doll (Shaw Organisation)

 

Secret ending? No.

Running time: 103 minutes (~1.75 hours)

Sex Doll (Shaw Organisation)

“Sex Doll” is a French drama in English and French.

It revolves around a professional call girl who has a promising future in the prostitution trade. However, a chance meeting with a stranger changes her mind, forcing her to choose between romantic love or her path as a seller of carnal services.

“Sex Doll” is directed and written by Sylvie Verheyde. It stars Hafsia Herzi (Virginie), Ash Stymest (Ruppert), Karole Rocher (Raphaelle), Ira Max (Sofia), and Lyndsay Karamoh (Electre). It is rated M18.

“Sex Doll” is one of those films which promise some insight into human nature thanks to its provocative title and premise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite meet those expectations, nor does it explore the vagaries of intimacy as much as you’d expect. Visually, it’s still interesting to watch, but it feels like a hollow shell rather than a thought-provoking film.

Sex Doll (Shaw Organisation)

Highlights

Suburban feel despite being set in London

There’s a distinct suburban feel to the film, despite it being set in busy London. Of course, Virginie’s (Hafsia Herzi) clients are from the wealthier parts of London, but you never get the sense that she’s also caught up in their corporate busyness. Instead, she feels like a smalltime, homely purveyor of her services, as lewd as those services maybe.

Artistically shot

“Sex Doll” also boasts visuals that make most scenes easy on the eye. That is to say, even without the scenes of intimacy, you can still see the artistic bent of “Sex Doll” shining through. The director combines the mise-en-scene (arrangement of props) and scene composition to give a stylish flair to the look of the film.

Sex Doll (Shaw Organisation)

Letdowns

Unbelievable plots and motivations

The plot is completely unbelievable. Scenes are contrived just to get the characters in a position to fall in love (since this is partly a romance), and the motivations behind the protagonists come out of nowhere. You’re not really sure what they’re after or if they even understand the consequences of their decisions. As a result, the plot comes off as a rather silly one, rather than complementing the complex premise and visuals.

Hafsia Herzi’s inconsistent performance

As Virginie, Hafsia Herzi only has two modes — angry screaming or level-headed coolness. There’s nothing in between these two expressions that she has, which makes her look like she has multiple personality disorder. If she could show that she had some range between these two extremes, she might still be more likeable and believable. However, as the lead character of the movie, Herzi’s performance is one note.

Very, very slow

There’s some semblance of a mystery that is slowly revealed throughout the film. Unfortunately, it’s not as if you didn’t expect this twist to happen, and everything that follows is predictable. This is compounded by the slow pacing of the film, which makes the insignificant revelations even more boring.

Sex Doll (Shaw Organisation)

“Sex Doll” is a lot less interesting than it sounds.

Should you watch this if it’s free? Okay.

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? No.

Score: 2.0/5

“Sex Doll” opens in cinemas:
– 4 May, 2017 (Singapore)

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for Police & Thief, Incredible Tales, Crimewatch, and Point of Entry. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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