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Angel Dust (1994)
"Enjeru dasuto" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 633 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 7 critic

Every Monday at 6 pm a young woman is murdered in the subway. The psychiatrist Setsuko Suma is called in to assist the police. The trail leads to another psychiatrist - Dr Rei Aku - who ... See full summary »

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(as Sogo Ishii)

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(screenplay), (screenplay)
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Title: Angel Dust (1994)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Kaho Minami ...
Setsuko Suma
Takeshi Wakamatsu ...
Rei Aku
Etsushi Toyokawa ...
Tomoo
Ryoko Takizawa ...
Yuki Takei
Masayuki Shionoya
Toshinori Kondo
Yukio Yamato
Jin Akiyama
Tomorowo Taguchi
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Storyline

Every Monday at 6 pm a young woman is murdered in the subway. The psychiatrist Setsuko Suma is called in to assist the police. The trail leads to another psychiatrist - Dr Rei Aku - who Setsuko used to date. As she get closer to the solution, she gets more and more convinced that Aku's deprogramming of former sectmembers is important. Written by Mattias Sandstrm <d92-mas@nada.kth.se>

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24 January 1997 (USA)  »

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Angel Dust  »

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1.85 : 1
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References Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very intriguing, little known-gem. Worth seeking out
9 February 2010 | by (Gainesville, Virginia) – See all my reviews

If you've come across the VHS of Angel Dust in your local rental store, you've probably seen the promo material refer to it as "The Japanese Silence of the Lambs." It's really not, however. Yes, the two films share a basic plot: an attractive female detective/ psychologist tracks a serial killer while tapping into the talents of a manipulative mentor type to help get into the killer's mind in order to catch him. But the similarities pretty much end there. There are elements of a whodunit and we get just enough police procedural to keep us on track, but those expecting a big-star Hollywood type production like Silence of the Lambs, or a trendy, graphic thriller like Tell Me Something will probably be disappointed.

However, if you enjoy the psychological aspects of a hunt for a serial killer; think that a secluded brainwashing clinic can be a creepy setting; and appreciate mood, atmosphere, and symbolism over jump scenes and gore, then I suggest that you seek out this little-known film.

Every Monday at 6:00 PM a 20-something girl drops dead right in the middle of the crowded Tokyo subway. The killer's predictability is more than offset by his elusiveness. Meanwhile, we are introduced to our detective, Setsuko Suma. Described as an "analyst on abnormal criminal personalities," she seems to be a cross between a psychic and a empath and is driven to get into the mind of the killer in order to stop him. However, Suma is no confident and strong Clarice Starling. In fact, she is barely hanging on to her sanity, and we get the feeling that the efforts of the investigation just might tip her over the edge, if not kill her. Suma has frequent nightmares and fugue states. In these she finds herself descending into a cave (her nightmares? her memories? a trap from which there is no escape?). The symbolism is effective.

To complicate matters, her investigation leads her to a former mentor and lover (Rei Aku), a mysterious renegade psychologist who has set up a "reverse brainwashing" clinic known as a "Re-freezing Psychorium." We aren't quite sure if the mind games he draws Suma into serve the purpose of helping her in her quest, or something more diabolical. In any event he is always several steps ahead of her and she finds herself psychologically and emotionally at his mercy once he gets into her head.

Something that impressed me greatly about Angel Dust was the visual style and the director's stylistic touches. The look of the film is grainy and washed out. The Tokyo of Angel Dust is bleak and full of urban decay that hangs like an oppressive weight over everything. The color palette tends toward sepia and a pale industrial green that will have you thinking about basement cafeterias, hospital corridors, and flickering fluorescent lighting.

We are treated to some interesting visuals, and I firmly believe the sound editor must be a genius. (I can hear you saying it now--"Oh great...he's going off on the sound editing, that's like telling me the sister has a great personality"). No, no, really. It's very effective, including the use of an atonal synthesizer that really complements the production design.

In sum, well worth the effort to seek out if you are in the mood for something different from the typical Hollywood fare.


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