Tuesday 18 September 2018 photo 5/8
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A girl's life cascades into chaos as everyone around her suffers a gruesome fate while she herself becomes less and less certain of who she is and what kind of a world she lives in.
Let's start saying that I will not deny Mr Sono his desire to push boundaries and be original. Just 5 minutes into the movie and we have like 200 million women that have been cut in half but some weird wind. Women, yes, because well, you will notice quite soon that men are not ones to be seen around a lot in this movie.
But the problem is that he just seems to want to be original for the sake of it, and doing so, ends repeating himself quite a bit. Leaving out all his religious symbols and passion for underwear, that come up in all of his movies (or at least in all I have seen), he ends just being a marvelous director in terms of camera-work, scenery, original shots, etc etc, and horrible in the plot department. I enjoy looking at his movies, but from a distance, and like for 5 minutes, when I notice there is no plot to hold the visuals.
But where in Tokyo Tribe, for example, he had a more or less original plot and crazy idea (a story told by actors "rapping"; I'm generous here by calling their singing rapping, but it's part of the movie...) here we just have random situations that are hold together by... well, nothing. We have poor Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) just running around from one place to the other while something (I think he is winking his eye at Sam Raimi here; or just plainly copying) at first, teachers later, and well, weird things further on (I'll let you see it if you are interested) try to kill her. Poor Reina Triendl is not very expressive in this movie, but well, she has not much to work on. I see Mr. Sono telling her: LOOK SCARED! SCARED! JUST LOOK SCARED AND RUN!
If this review makes no sense to you, the movie will make less. Sono, as Miike Takashi before he went mainstream, tries to be original and ends like the drunkard that loses himself in his own story by leaving everyone else scratching their heads. Original, yes; makes no sense, you betcha.
i love apocalyptic dystopias and time travel and, of course, Japanese schoolgirls in their uniforms and blood and gore if it's ironic. throw in an unreliable narrator and you've hooked me. and i was hooked all the way in this movie. i kept stopping it to shoot frames--many of which i plan to use for memes on facebook, they're so pithy. most from 'sur' of course!
towards the end i suspected it might fall apart when the big reveal came, but every time i formulated a guess, it would twist slightly and, although i'm not about to reveal anything, it was not only not a cheap cop-out, some serious issues were raised about the future and us as a society.
btw, the only movies i give 9s to are epics such as lotr, for geniuses such as kubrick, and the occasional quirky black comedy. this movie earned the 9 from me fair and square with its imagination. my only quibble is i wish they could have afforded better effects in a lot of places, but the bus scene jerked me bolt upright in my chair and that was the intended effect, so they got their money's worth.
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