Love, Death & Robots Episode 3: “The Witness” Recap & Review


 

 

Impressive Visuals Let Down By Excessive Nudity

The Witness could be one of the best episodes in Love, Death & Robots’ anthology but excessive nudity holds this one back from being a better title. Armed with an impressively unique aesthetic, The Witness uses its simple story as a springboard to really show off the artistic prowess of the episode.

The story here begins with a woman sensing, and then witnessing, a murder before fleeing from the killer through the streets of an unknown Asian city. As neon lights glitter all around, the woman races through back-alleys and glitzy sidewalks before hiding out at her place of work. From here, the series takes a turn toward the dark world of desire and sex as the man enters the building and finds himself at the mercy of those in charge.

As the woman and man then leave the establishment after a couple of provocative and sexually suggestive moments, they run into each other again and the chase continues. This builds up to a climactic finale and another interesting twist where the roles are reversed and the woman winds up killing the man while across the street, that same man witnesses the murder.

While this endless loop twist is something that’s been done a few times before, its inclusion here is certainly unexpected. It works really well as a support for the main drive of the episode which is really the unique aesthetic and visual flair.

The art style borrows heavily from the recent Into The Spider-Verse film too, merging comic book text and impact shots with both motion capture and CGI. The result is a hedonistic trip that utilizes a dizzying range of different shots and camera movements, reinforcing the feeling of movement and things not quite being right. It’s a really clever idea and one that’s executed to perfection.

Now, it is worth noting that The Witness has an awful lot of nudity in it. Expect full frontal shots throughout the episode and whilst the moments inside the club make sense, the ensuing chase sequences outside feel distracting and jarring as the woman’s unbuttoned shirt blows behind her, exposing everything for all to see. It’s a blemish on an otherwise decent episode and something that certainly takes away some of the allure here. Still, The Witness is another good episode and for the art style alone, makes it a must-watch, flaws and all.

 


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  • Verdict
3.5

11 thoughts on “Love, Death & Robots Episode 3: “The Witness” Recap & Review”

  1. The “Unknown Asian City” is Hong Kong,that’s why it’s full of neon light on the street.

  2. Ah okay that’s interesting to know Debbie. I wasn’t sure whether it was Hong Kong as the neon twilight could have been any Asian city. I did look into it a little before writing this up and IMDB, wikipedia and various other sources (including Netflix’s synopsis) refer to it as a futuristic Asian city.

    Thought it best not to make assumptions there! Thank you for the feedback though, really appreciate it!

  3. The nudity didnt bother me at all – didnt even stand out for me because the visuals were so stunning.

  4. That type of nudity is fine for most people I would have thought, the nudity is not the issue, but sexual connotations posssibly are: ie leather/latex suits, etc. There is quite a difference there that you seems to not to have grasped. This is a truly amazing piece, visually absolutely stunning.

  5. I found the episode quite the standout in this series filled with only the best animation has to offer. Now that you mentioned it, I did feel the Into the Spiderverse vibe. It is just an amazing episode.

  6. I wouldnt say the style borrows from the spidersverse movie, the similarity might actually come from the fact that the director of the witness was the art director for the spiderverse for a big chunk of the production and the movie keeps a lot of his influence. And the animation is truly beautiful in both . For the witness at least,definitely not mocap

  7. This episode gave me such an uncomfortable knot in my stomach that I wanted to turn it off. Easily *my* last place episode (definitely not the worst episode in the season, just can’t imagine myself watching it again.)
    The good? Because this episode has redeeming qualities and the most notable is the art style. I’ll just say spiderverse is my favorite movie right now and I don’t even like superhero stuff. It also has natural voice acting and wonderful details both on the characters and their environment.

    The bad would be most notably the plot twist. It wasn’t pretentious by any means but it wasn’t the satisfying sort of artsy mind fuck they were aiming for. The last scene in general was kind of a let down. This was a really good episode to have a intense ending that sticks with you and they missed it. And the characters werent particularly likeable either. I have no real issue with the protag and antag, other than their (lack of) personalities I really liked their designs. The dancer who confronts her at the door and Ivan were just poorly executed and didn’t add anything to the story.

    The ugly? Oooh, aka what made this My Worst Episode? The MAGNITUDE of unnecessary sex in this episode. It was objectifying, insulting, and just gross. And I say this being the exact opposite of a prude in my life. BDSM? Awesome. This shows use of BDSM-themes? Not awesome. The whole scene in the club is a mess from the antag being seduced to the artful montage of the protag touching herself.

    Writing this out did make me a little less nauseated by the short though

  8. The city is Hong Kong indeed. The red taxi is exactly how it looks in Hong Kong, and there’re literally road signs with Hong Kong places written on them. Really appreciate how detailed and realistic (not forcefully cleaned up) they made Hong Kong look in this episode.

  9. I don’t think the nudity takes away from this at all. If an murderer was after you, you’re last thought is to stop and button your blouse.

  10. Agree with Gryd. I was most impressed with how realistically, genuinely and authentically they captured Hong Kong. Tons of little details (red taxis, the stores/shops, signs, roads, traffic lights, walkways above the streets, apartments, stairwells) were totally 100% accurate. If you have spent any amount of time in Hong Kong, you’ll identify it immediately, there is no other Asian city with that look and feel. Most western animations/shows/movies don’t portray HK accurately (e.g. Pacific Rim, Rush Hour, Doctor Strange, etc), but this was definitely not the case. I found it to be a breath of fresh air to see someone get it so right.

    The only part that wasn’t accurate was how empty it was. You’d never see Hong Kong like that in the middle of the day on any day.

  11. Yes true the background is based Hong Kong. If you search “Tai Kok Tsui” yo will find similar scenery. Indeed, if you have watched “Ghost in the Shell” and “Transformer 4” you will notice Hong Kong as the city background as well. I guess most film makers love the contrasting “modern” and “oldish” scenes of HK. On the other hand of course you will learn about the social issues behind.

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