Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Uzumaki (Higuchinsky, 2000)

If Hyenas was one of the most bitter films I've ever seen, Uzumaki is one of the strangest. This movie is a perfect representation of the left-field wave of J-horror, films that don't make sense and don't mean to. The town in the film is beset by a plague of, well, spirals (uzumaki is Japanese for spiral). People become obsessed with spirals, starting innocuously with snails and pottery, but soon, this obsession becomes overwhelming and gross things start happening. In this middle of all this is stupid, stupid Kirie and her way smarter life-long friend/boyfriend Shiuchi, whose father is the first victim. Suicide by putting yourself into what appears to be a dryer? Awesome.

The acting is perfect for the movie, meaning that everyone in the film doesn't seem to be particularly worried about this plague until it's way too late, and no one seems concerned or confused as to where the plague is actually coming from. In fact, the cause of the uzumaki is never revealed in the film, but apparently is in the manga on which the film is based, and that I really want to pick up now. American audiences almost always call this "bad" acting, but it's what the film, and, in some ways, the genre, calls for. I think it fit perfectly.

Acting aside, the images in this film are ridiculous. Spiral everywhere: people turned into spirals, hair spirals, everything you can think of. The film retained the green tint of the manga, giving it a dark, other-worldly feel. Even though the premise might seem silly, there are definitely a lot of intense moments in the film; I'm not someone who gets scared by movies at all, but this was one I had to shut off right before I went to bed because it got too intense. Some images are ones that I will never forget. One of the strangest, most visually extreme films I've ever seen, and a must-see for those who love bizarre fare.


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Comments on "Uzumaki (Higuchinsky, 2000)"


Blogger Bob Turnbull said ... (10:59 PM) : 

It's great, ain't it? You're right about the acting as it was spot on for the tone of the film.

I read somewhere that "vortex" was a more apt translation for the title of the film. This would make sense given the inability of people to actually leave the town.

Either way it was a lot of fun. And kinda freaky...


Blogger math said ... (12:11 PM) : 

I'm pretty mixed on Uzumaki. At the time, I dug the imagery and weirdness, and while I wasn't crazy about it overall, I liked the lack of explanation - but when I learned later (third-hand, I haven't read it) that the movie had simply failed to convey some of the major points of the manga , I had to take some points away. You gotta wonder, was vagueness the plan, or did it just not do a great job of adapting the source material? I'm still fond of Uzumaki based on the overall feel, but for a proper judgment I'll probably have to read it and go back to watch again.


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