Ranking Robots: The Witness

Ranking Robots is the newest tri-weekly series that will be making its appearance on the site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as I make my way through Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots. For those that are unaware of the Netflix Original, the show is a series of short stories that have to do with, you guessed it, Love, Death, and Robots. If anyone reading this ever saw the incredible collection of short films called the Animatrix (if you haven’t go check that out now) then you won’t have any trouble jumping into this new series.

Mixed with a breathtaking art-style, unique direction, and story moments that feel like a 13-year-old boy has taken over the writing, The Witness is a confusing piece of beautiful art. Having just been witness to a brutal murder, the story follows a young woman on the run as she is being chased through the city by the culprit. The opening scene is fast-paced and haunting. The audience knows nothing about the story’s protagonist, yet we’re instantly concerned for her wellbeing because of how chaotic the murder that she witnesses is filmed and edited.

While on the run though, the interesting story and beautiful animation that I honestly thought was rotoscoping until I looked it up, take a dramatic and unfortunate turn. For the record, I have no problem with nudity what-so-ever, but when it appears in this specific story it comes off as someone trying to be edgy for the sake of being edgy. Following this awkward scene, we’re treated to a cornucopia of greatness that turns this 12-minute short around and leaves the viewer only thinking about how cool and creative 90% of this story was.

While I’m only 3 episodes into Love Death + Robots, I really enjoy how different every story is and for The Witness specifically, I enjoy how it isn’t afraid to do whatever it wants, even if what it wants to do, I personally think hurts the overall experience. While trying to avoid being too cliche, it’s important to remember that that’s what art is and at the end of the day, you’ve got to let the artist art… or something like that.

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