A revolver-wielding stranger crosses paths with two warring clans who are both on the hunt for a hidden treasure in a remote western town. Knowing his services are valuable to either side, he offers himself to the clan who will offer up the largest share of the wealth.
An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.
The Suzuran Senior High School for Boys, nicknamed "The School of Crows", is the poorest achieving, most violent school in the country. The students are called "crows" and they band ... See full summary »
An unknown future. A boy confesses to the murder of another in an all-boy juvenile detention facility. More an exercise in style than storytelling, the story follows two detectives trying to uncover the case. Homosexual tension and explosive violence drives the story which delivers some weird and fascinating visuals. Written by
Beautiful and haunting art-house with a veneer of a prison movie: that is the best description of a movie that is so invested in its self referential imagery that the viewer is either swept away into it or completely alienated. The sets are often minimal, echoing some modern theater and also giving an extra emphasis to the characters as such. Golden light pervades the dreamy scenery of cramped cells, geometrically shaped insides and an odd pyramid and an equally surprising space rocket that can be seen from the roof of the prison.
At the surface the movie is a crime investigation in which two policemen try to unravel the events behind the murder of an inmate since the confession of the presumed killer does not seem to match reality. But that is an excuse for a lavishly artistic movie to structure itself around a plot that gives coherence to the surreal approach so that overall it does not veer into fantasy. Which is not to say that this is a linear movie because it most definitely is not. Flashbacks mingle with fantasy and the feeling of displaced narrative is inherent to the nihilism of the content.
Ryuhei Matsuda's performance adds much to the not quite overt sensuality of it all. Emotions are stifled, dialogues are left open ended, interpretations are left hanging in the air and ultimately unanswered. And that seems to be the heart of this movie: solving the crime does not advance a psychological answer to the problem of human interaction or lack thereof. Kazuki is something of a social outcast and Arioshi's obsession with him the only bridge to any kind of human contact. The sexual tension adds another level to the already pressing claustrophobia.
In the end, not even the re-visitation of some lines of dialogue that provide a context is able of truly answering anything. The viewer is left to make some sense of what happened and to fill in the gaps, an attempt that may very well be absolutely impossible. After all, the movie is fragmented in essence, deliberately so. A telling scene is when a shaft of sunlight pierces through Arioshi as an arrow and blood seeps out. Like the movie it is somewhat factual and yet full of meanings that need be projected unto it: a literal metaphor.
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