Here is a film that was very eager to see considering the trailer and excellent reviews the movie received. The reality is quite different, since during the screening some people from the audience laughed, others left while the movie was still playing. Why? Firstly, the Japanese cinema style doesn’t please everyone and secondly, because this film has many flaws.
I usually really like that kind of movies and the very slow pace of Japanese movies doesn’t bother me except here. Not only the film starts really slowly, ( the girlfriend of the protagonist is in a coma and he visits her in his mind to get her out of her state) but a mirror effect which I cannot reveal without spoiling the film forces us to relive the off-putting beginning of the story a second time. That’s the rhythm of the film.
Regarding the plot, there is here a mix of genre that can also be confusing. First, a love science fiction film (due to the technology that does not yet exist in our time), then a ghost movie, a thriller, a horror movie and even an action movie where the hero must face a monster. The director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has also a very eclectic filmography: from erotic to horror films …
The fact that most of the plot takes place in the unconscious mind of the characters (as to create confusion between dream and reality that recalls «Inception “) was the opportunity to explore endless possibilities from scriptwriting to directing. It was successful on some points: the pencils that flow like there is no gravity, the gun shots without a gun materialized, the fact that people’s faces are not very clear (as in a dream there usually aren’t). But unfortunately, even if the dream side can partially excuse the too kitschy or even cheap directing, it drives the western countries viewers that we are, away.
The driving scenes are worse than a bad TV show, “psychological zombies” and monsters are also very poorly made.
Otherwise, the actors performance are very good, the two lead actors Takeru Satoh and Haruka Ayase are the great strengths of this film. However, Miki Nakatani who plays the female doctor delivers a rather strange performance.
The film has its moments of poetry and has a more complex screenplay that we expect at first, punctuated by twists and secrets revealed, but suffers from an uneven production and especially a real lack of rhythm . That said, the film is still very interesting for its creative directing.