Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
A LABOUR of love for Danish director, Anders Rønnow-Klarlund,
Strings is a striking achievement on many levels, not least of
which is the way in which it consistently manages to overcome
the limitations that could have been imposed by its marionette
Rather than getting in the way, the strings serve as a literal
lifeline for his puppets, becoming as central to the plot as the
actors who provide voices for the marionettes.
As a result, lovers entwine their strings to display their feelings
for each other, while enemies cut away at the strings of their
opponents, thereby ending their lifelines.
Such acts provide the dramatic impetus for a tale that unfolds
in the style of a classic Shakespearean tragedy with its eye on
A dark tale of love and revenge, the story concentrates on a
young prince, Hal (voiced by James McAvoy), who sets off to avenge
the apparent murder of his father, the Emporer of Habelon, at
the hands of his arch-enemies, the Zeriths.
Disguising himself as a common slave, Hal plans to infiltrate
the Zeriths and claim the life of their leader, unaware that the
real threat comes from within the walls of his own city.
As a result, he must overcome the
betrayal of those he holds dear, while finding love in unexpected
places - all the while aware that failure to uncover the real
murderers could pose disaster for his people.
Epic in scope, Strings is an astonishing achievement, not least
because it achieves more with wooden, mobile-eyed puppets than
some blockbusters have managed with a special effects budget that
runs into millions.
Credit must therefore go to Rønnow-Klarlund for employing
such a talented team of puppeteers, whose unseen work must have
required pain-staking attention to detail and constant use of
The battle sequences, especially, are impressively orchestrated,
as is a sequence involving childbirth, so that the puppets never
seem too awkward when moving.
It means that audiences will be gasping with admiration rather
than sniggering into their popcorn as Rønnow-Klarlund's
story delivers its fair share of twists and turns.
Clever, too, is his choice of actors to voice the characters,
given that his heavyweight cast includes such names as Derek Jacobi,
Julian Glover, Ian Hart and Samantha Bond, to name but a few.
As a result, proceedings are given the gravitas they merit, with
the emphasis very much on tragedy.
The one worry is that in keeping things so dark in tone and serious
in nature, Rønnow-Klarlund may struggle to find an audience
despite its PG certificate.
It will take some string-pulling of a different kind to persuade
mainstream cinema-goers that they will want to see it.