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Nine convicts escape from prison; most are convicted murders. They commandeer a van from a strip club. Their plan is to find a stash of counterfeit money that a deranged cell mate told them about, divide it, then part ways. They make it to the site where the money is supposed to be hidden, and then one by one, each seeks out the place he wants to be, a version of home, somewhere to connect. Will it end well for any of them? Written by
Escaping the guilt that hangs over you is never easy.
Finally! Third time lucky. This film has been always been on my mind, but my first viewing I forgot about it and only caught the second half of the film. Then only a couple months later I had the my second chance of watching of it, so I decided I would record it. Only to discover that my timer went off late and again I missed the first half of the flick. I wasn't going to allow that to happen again. So, when it came on TV again, I thought bugger it I'll wait until it comes on, then I will record it. And it was a good choice. I would have just watched the film, but they always put on weeknights around midnight.
After discovering a hole in their crowded cell, nine prisoners escape their confinement to track down the key of the universe, which a fellow prisoner known as the Counterfeit King said he had hidden. They think that this key could be an opening for a hidden loot of counterfeit bills. On this journey they naturally see this as an opportunity to pick up their lives before they were gaoled. Although things don't turn out the way that they intended to, with most of the criminals plans going astray.
"9 Souls" is an perky spiritual journey from Japanese director Toshiaki Toyada, which flung it's viewers into a film of two totally different halves. The first half of the story plays out more like a psychical comedy with the criminals bonds and the situations they find themselves being the selling point, but all that makes way to a moralistic and consequence drama-packed second half, where the real trouble begins with some quite nasty and bloody moments replacing the goofball tone it started off with. While, the first half is quite amusing with its on the road, screwball doodling and offbeat banter. But it's really the genuinely haunting latter half with it's peculiar turn of events that hit you so hard with some surprising touches that make you really sympathise for these very human characters. Even though they are not truly innocent from their crimes, you just become entrenched by these flesh-out characters in the first half that when you see them spiral into their downfall, you know it's an effective drama when you become shell-shocked in the dramatic change. The nine characters get enough screen time to truly understand their personal story and what weakness would eventually bring them down. The way the plot works out is that Michiru and Torakichi are the lead characters and we mostly see it from their perspectives. The escapism tale is an unquestionably engaging character study that's clear in it's goal and puts to you many questions on society and the path you choice to take to escape life and free yourself from these restraints.
While, the symbolic story is full of clarity and vividly told. The visual element doesn't go by unnoticed, because there's just a dreamy and trance-like vibe that channels itself into the unique atmosphere. What HIGHLY contributed to that factor and gave the film a lift was the sweepingly, moody instrumental rock soundtrack. The mellow atmospheric gel it was able to create in many scenes left me rather breathless with the everlasting emotions it was able to provoke. Simply beautiful and downright powerful control on that front. The pacing for such an long film ( 2 hours ) seems to breeze by and editing is swiftly done, because we are just so wrapped up in it all. The hypnotic photography is crisp in detail. While, the performances by the cast as a odd bunch of criminals are that of high quality with each one providing enough personality and features to separate themselves.
I found "9 Souls" to be a pleasing and quite an amazing surreal film that stirs up the emotions and then it smacks you with an almighty wallop when it changes direction. Highly recommended.
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