On the Doll (2007)
Directed by: Thomas Mignone | 102 minutes | drama, thriller, crime | Actors: Brittany Snow, Josh Janowicz, Stephen Sowan, Clayne Crawford, Shanna Collins, James Russo, Paul Ben-Victor, Eddie Jemison, Marcus Giamatti, Angela Sarafyan, Candice Accola, Chloe Domont
Impressive film about child abuse and its effect on people’s psyche. ‘On the Doll’ is far from prudish by American standards due to unsavory details and straightforward conversations. Plastic scenes are not shunned and as a result ‘On the Doll’ lands hard, but the unbelievability is lurking. ‘On the Doll’ seems above all to be a cry for attention in the worldwide problem of child abuse and illegal sex industries, of which we often only know the tip of the iceberg. Through shocking impressions, director and writer Thomas Mignone goes above and beyond to make the general public understand the raw reality. In doing so, he sometimes turns to the glorification of violent revenge by victims and their revenge on the perpetrators.
The characters in the film have been attributed to the effect of abuse of power and the manipulative that can arise between perpetrator and victim. The believable cast (Brittany Snow (“Hairspray”), Josh Janowicz (“Cold Case”), James Russo (“Public Enemies”), Angela Sarafyan (“The Informers”) and many others) understand this and act convincingly from both the young girl’s point of view as the old pervert. In doing so, she portrays the sickening relationship of authority between young children and those who should have held a protective position.
Director Thomas Mignone stays far from melodramatic influences and manages to create a balanced suspense that keeps you glued to the tube until the last minute, purely through the use of elementary film ingredients such as cast and screenplay. ‘On the Doll’ is rightly reminiscent of ‘8MM’, but is just as catchy because of the focus on the victims and the bond you build with them during the film.
It could be expected in advance that Mignone would not get bogged down in sweet drama with ‘On the Doll’. Because in addition to his young career as a feature filmmaker, Migone has been directing music videos for hard rock and heavy metal bands such as Slipknot, System of a Down, Megadeth, just to name a few for years. The provocative nature of such clips can also be traced back to this film. ‘On the Doll’ was rightly selected for a number of film festivals. The film says it all in its attempt to convey a difficult subject. And they have succeeded. Because of the sometimes extraordinarily (superfluous) horrifying scenes, Mignone took a risk. But he also upgraded ‘On the Doll’ from an excellent drama to an exciting thriller, suitable for a wide audience.