Tatia Rosenthals stop-motion animation $9.99 adds a measure of stolid creepiness to co-writer Etgar Kerets brand of dark whimsy. Like Jellyfishthe live-action film Keret directed with his wife, Shira Geffen, in 2007$9.99 is an episodic affair detailing the absurd or fantastic encounters between all the lonely peoplehere, the inhabitants of a particular apartment building. An Israeli-Australian co-production, $9.99 is set in a city that vaguely resembles Tel Aviv, but is populated by Aussie-accented clay puppets: An aggressive beggar (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) shoots himself and returns as a no less irascible angel; a stoner is dumped by his girlfriend and consoled by a trio of heavy-partying pixie dudes; a repo man takes up with a supermodel, whose apartment includes some peculiar anthropomorphic furniture; and a little boy bonds with his ceramic piggy-bank. The movies nominal protagonist, a terminally unemployed 28-year-old still living at home with his depressed father, discovers, first, the meaning of life in a paperback purchased for $9.99 and, second, that nobody cares. The various scenarios intersect and comment on each other, abetted by an incongruously airy score. Theres nothing especially spiritual or Jewish about $9.99, but, with its numerologically suggestive title, this curious movie does inspire Kabbalistic reveries. Is it a drama unfolding in one of Gods failed creations? Are these depressed, abandoned beings a race of golemsinert creatures fashioned from clay and brought mysteriously to life?
Tatia RosenthalGeoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Samuel Johnson, Claudia Karvan, Joel Edgerton, Barry Otto, Lanna Walsman, Ben Mendelson, Jamie Katsamatsas, Brian MeaganEtgar Keret, Tatia RosenthalAmir Harel, Emile ShermanRegent Releasing