A Japanese salaryman returns to his ramshackle apartment every night to the welcoming, if chilly, embrace of his inflatable sex doll, with whom he has an elaborate domestic routine. But then, one day, her eyes open and unaccountably she finds she has "a heart I was not supposed to have." The Lion from The Wizard of Oz must be gutted.
Air Doll follows the life of our pneumatic heroine and those of the people she meets in her Tokyo neighbourhood. Director Hirokazu handles the transition between doll and human with a disarming simplicity. The cinematography is almost luminous, and the film comes to a striking conclusion. However, the mix of kooky fable and queasy sexual detail can make for uneasy viewing. More damagingly, Hirokazu's meandering, diffuse storytelling leaves the film feeling even longer than its near two hour running time, and it becomes difficult not to hope for the appearance of sharp objects just to introduce an element of suspense. [Keir Roper-Caldbeck]