Of Dolls and Murder

Director: Susan Marks
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 1.5

In the male-dominated field of forensics, American Frances Glessner Lee created objects known as "Nutshells" (which remind me of Joseph Cornell's boxes) that recreate crime scenes with dolls, paint and intricate little details. As important as it is to highlight the achievements of Glessner Lee, this documentary is unfocused and frankly all over the place, as Marks tries to tie together Glessner Lee's recreations with The Body Farm (in Tennessee), TV shows like CSI, classes in forensic examination at DeSales University and the Harvard Symposium for Detectives (in Baltimore) ... not to mention taking a feminist look at Lee's presence in a world of men by examining the deaths of (for the most part) women at the hands of men. Cutting back and forth between the different segments and trying to "link them" with true crime addict John Waters' narration is feeble - running just a little over an hour, this still feels padded.