Love, Death + Robots Episode 3, “The Witness”, is a brilliant technical achievement, with a gritty, dark and fast story behind it.
Love, Death + Robots is a Netflix Anthology series created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Here is the review for Episode 3, “The Witness”, which will contain spoilers. You can read the spoiler-free review of the entire series by clicking these words. You can check out our archive for reviews of each episode by clicking these words.
For a short animated story, Love, Death + Robots Episode 3, “The Witness”, is an incredible visual achievement. I’m not sure about technique and design, but it captures the brutality, the intensity of running away from a killer. The story follows a young woman who witnesses a murder in a suburban neighbourhood, in a downtown setting. As she witnesses the murder, the killer looks up and sees her, prompting her to run away as fast as she can. The animation makes a point to make the story fast-paced and the character panic so the audience feels the full breadth of the situation.
The witness is a stripper, taking cover at her workplace, with a manager who is unaware of the trauma that she has just suffered. The killer locates the strip club, and immerses himself into the scene, allowing erotic dancers to take over as the witness performs her dance. Episode 3 relies on shock value; blood, the casual use of vulgar words and titillation. It’s clear that the objective of “The Witness” was not just to tell a story, but to demonstrate a unique visual concept, in a neo-noir scene.
It’s a shame that “The Witness” is just a concept as I’d like to see this kind of work/story to be expanded into a feature on the big screen. I think there is ambition here to be admired. But regardless, the third animated short story of Love, Death + Robots is an almost perfect piece of work that treats the eyes.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.