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Karisuma (1999)

A seasoned detective is called in to rescue a politician held hostage by a lunatic. In a brief moment of uncertainty, he misses the chance for action. Leaving his job and family without ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Goro Yabuike
... Naoto Kiriyama
... Satoshi Nakasone (as Ren Ôsugi)
... Chizuru Jinbo
Jun Fubuki ... Mitsuko Jinbo
Akira Ohtaka ... Tatsuo Tsuboi
... Nekoshima
Sachiko Meguro ... Hanako
Masayuki Shionoya ... Bucho
... Young Officer
Kôichi Imamura ... Young Man
Yôji Tanaka ... Sugishita
Atsushi Nishida ... Nishi
Masaaki Nagata ... Diet Member
Setchin Kawaya ... Worker
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Storyline

A seasoned detective is called in to rescue a politician held hostage by a lunatic. In a brief moment of uncertainty, he misses the chance for action. Leaving his job and family without explanation, he makes his way to a mountain forest, where there is a peculiar tree called charisma. Should it be destroyed or protected? People stand divided over this one tree. Written by amirmu

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Drama

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26 February 2000 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Charisma  »

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1.85 : 1
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Featured in Kiyoshi Kurosawa: Broken Circuits (2017) See more »

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What is this?
10 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of the most amazing stylists around. I loved his "Cure" for its distanced, analytical camera work - but I'm no fan of that movie's ending. Then I've seen "Kaïro" and was amazed because it had a completely different style. Scary and finally apocalyptic in a way I've never thought it would go. "Charisma" is the third Kurosawa-movie I've seen and again, its style is amazing. Sometimes the camera watches a scene from far away and gives the action a distanced, neutral look. The shots in the forest are amazing. Sometimes green and lush, sometimes misty and foreboding.

But what about that story? I've read many interpretations - that this is an analysis of Japan's society, that this is a neutral (which would fit the style) look at a confrontation of "wrong" and "right". Well, that's all rather intriguing - but no, it doesn't satisfy me at all. Now that I think about it, I'm actually very disappointed by the story. No one in this movie acts rationally which lifts the movie away from reality and lessens its social commentary. It had flashes of brilliance where I clearly saw what Kurosawa was aiming at - but he could not sustain his ideas for the full running time. Sometimes I thought this was a parody and all Kurosawa wants to do in the end is laugh at the viewer who was expecting something that makes sense.

That said, I have to admit that it gives you a lot of thought fodder - just not in any rewarding way. Even if it is a clever commentary on Japan's society, that would not be enough for almost 2 hours. So the only really great thing about this film is its visual glory. I'm still not sure whether I like Kurosawa's movies or not. I certainly won't forget them.

Rating: 6/10


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