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Without knowing anything about the film beforehand, when I expected Village of Eight Gravestones to be a tale of vengeance set in the background of historical Japan, boy was I surprised, when it turned out to be a mixture of murder mystery and a tale of supernatural vengeance set in the 70's Japan. Another surprise was that such a quality film seems to be quite unknown outside Japan. After watching it, I felt like I had a small hidden gem here.
To me, VOEGS is a righteously slow-paced, atmospheric piece of work with sudden changes of mood, when the story is told to the viewer through different characters and the flashbacks that narrate their stories and their history. The photography differs between realistic and minimalistic to some shoots that are very stylistic, giving strange beauty to even the most brutal visual elements of the film. Altering between pondering detective story and sheer vicious action, the movie kept me nailed to the seat until the end and guessing who is the guilty and what is his or her motive. Nice bonus was that the ending pretty much knocked me out.
Especially intriguing in the movie was it's way of leaving things to be judged by the viewer, rather than explaining the true way of things. Whether there really was a curse or not, is entirely up to you.
VOEGS surely deserves to be seen by bigger audiences. It's not a perfect movie, but well worth watching for. Fair word of warning: violence in the movie is quite graphic in it's nature, and so this is not a film for the kiddies. For friends and fans of slowly building suspense and mystery, and Asian movies in general.
This is my truth. What is yours?
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