Category: 1988


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I had intended to post this review earlier today. But, my body is sort of a mess right now. It’s a new school semester, and my body, long accustomed to sleeping in til well after noon, is fighting a hard fight against my intention to wake up every day no later than 10 AM. Case in point, I fell asleep after a full 16 hour day Monday night at around 2 AM but I woke up at 5 AM and was unable to fall back asleep until around 10 AM. I slept til 1:30 PM (when I had to get up for class), got back home at around four and slept til I left for work. My body doesn’t know what to do with itself. I have to be up at 9:30 AM today (so Wednesday morning) but it’s almost 2 and despite taking a sleeping pill, my body doesn’t want to go to sleep. I am, however, hell bent on correcting myself even if that means operating on minimal amounts of sleep on those days that I don’t work. I’ll do that if I have to. This is all meant to say that my blogging may be taking a backseat because of this (also cause of all of the homework I have to do).

It is a sort of weird, almost divine providence that I wound up reviewing Rain Man a little less than two weeks after I reviewed Forrest Gump. On the surface, one could be forgiven for thinking they’re two similar films. They both involve a mentally disabled man that possesses astounding gifts who uses said gifts to enrich the lives of those around them. Praise the heavens that the surface is where these two films’ similarities end. Rain Man is, as I will posit, the anti-Forrest Gump. Where the latter deals in trite sentimentality, unearned emotional manipulation, and patently absurd twists of plot (it is the trope codifier for the “magical retard” [sorry for the offensive word]), Rain Man is firmly planted in the real world and though a clear emotional arc is traveled, an autistic savant doesn’t magically solve the problems of everyone around him.

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For those who’ve not seen the truly great bit of 80s filmmaking from director Barry Levinson (Diner), Rain Man is a genuinely moving (if occasionally predictable) spin on one of the most American genres of film, the road movie. A fast-talking, self-centered yuppie, Charlie Babbit (The Color of Money‘s Tom Cruise), finds out that his estranged father has died, and along with his Italian fiancee, Susanna (Valeria Golino), makes the trip from L.A. to Cincinnati for his father’s funeral and the reading of his will. But, Charlie finds out that all his father left him was a classic convertible and prize-winning rose bushes, not the $3 million estate that should have been his birthright. With some minor investigation, Charlie finds out that his father left all of his money to Raymond Babbit (Wag the Dog‘s Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant living in a mental institution that is also the older brother that Charlie never knew he had.

And thus, as a bargaining tool to extort the mental institution’s head caretaker to give Charlie the $3 million that’s been set aside in a trust for Raymond, Charlie decides to kidnap his brother since Raymond’s stay in the hospital is voluntary and no one established an official conservatorship of Raymond after the dead of their father. But, Charlie quickly learns that caring for his brother will be much more work than he bargained for. Raymond is unable to process emotion and information in a way even remotely similar to normal people, and he is a slave to the routines of his life. If he doesn’t eat certain foods at certain times or misses his shows at their scheduled time or doesn’t wear clothes from a specific K-Mart, he starts to snap. Throw in a massive crisis in Charlie’s personal life, and the caretaking of Raymond proves to be an almost insurmountable obstacle. But, as Charlie and Raymond make their way across America, Charlie learns that maybe he can love this brother he never met.

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It almost goes without saying at this point that Dustin Hoffman’s performance in this film is one of the greatest screen performances of all time. Not to belabor my anti-Forrest Gump analogy, but in that film, one would be forgiven for thinking Gump wasn’t really retarded in a traditional sense. He was just slow. I’ve known non-retarded types in real life that are easily dumber than Forrest Gump. You believe for every second that he’s on screen that Hoffman has autism. Hoffman is one of the most famous actors of all time, and despite that, he completely disappears into the role of Raymond. Hoffman’s preparation for the role (he spent a year living with a real life autistic savant) is evident throughout the whole picture. And though Raymond is a very static character (more on that later), Hoffman finds a subtlety and range in his performance that is stunning.

However, despite his Best Actor win at the 1988 Academy Awards, Raymond is not the main character of the film. That’s Charlie, and it’s his arc of emotional growth that defines the film, for better and (slightly) for worse. As I said, Raymond is a static character. Any change he experiences over the course of the film is minor at best. He’s not capable of changing. He doesn’t operate under normal human terms. It’s Charlie’s turn from a greedy, narcissistic yuppie into a compassionate brother that cares more about being allowed to take care of his brother than his $3 million inheritance that makes the film. And unlike the way that Forrest touches everyone’s life, the relationship that forms between Raymond and Charlie is believable and emotionally wrenching. I am incapable of watching this film without crying every single time we make it to the custody hearing at the end of the film.

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It’s too easy to give all of the credit in this film to Dustin Hoffman. His performance is practically iconic at this point. But, let’s not forget that for a brief window in the late 1980s, Tom Cruise was an A-list talent, not just because of his stunning good looks (though that was clearly part of it), but also because of his natural talents as an actor. If you can watch Born on the Fourth of July and question Cruise’s acting creds, you don’t understand good acting. And because Charlie is the main character and because we have to believe his emotional journey of the film, the greatest burden of Rain Man nearly falls on Cruise’s shoulders. And though Charlie isn’t as great a Cruise creation as Ron Kovic, Cruise was expertly cast as the charming but soulless yuppie who is able to find himself in the presence of his brother.

Besides the fact that I don’t think Hoffman should have won Best Actor that year (he should have won Best Supporting Actor), my complaints about Rain Man are minimal at worst. Occasionally, the road trip segments of the film drag or seem repetitive. The business crisis that Charlie must race back to L.A. to thwart is thinly explained at best. And, despite my general love of this film’s emotional arc, occasionally it does seem like some moments are too neatly resolved. Particularly, any scene between Raymond and Charlie’s fiancee cross the line from genuine sentiment to Forrest Gump-style emotional manipulation (though, the movie is just as likely to subvert that later so maybe I shouldn’t actually complain). Whereas many film’s about mental disabilities unfairly play on audience’s emotions and sympathies, Rain Man manages to be painfully realistic yet still deliver a moving emotional through line. What more can you ask for?

Final Score: A-

 

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“Would you f*** me? I’d f*** me.” Can you hear the New Wave song “Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus without thinking of either Silence of the Lambs or the scene from Clerks 2 that makes fun of the iconic scene from Silence of the Lambs. It took every ounce of my willpower to not make the picture for this post just the still from Silence of the Lambs where Buffalo Bill has his penis tucked back while he’s in drag trying to look like a woman. I figured no one wants to see Ted Levine’s pubes unless you’re actually watching the movie. And even then, you don’t really want to see his short and curlys. But it’s the price you have to pay to watch such a great movie. Anywho, this is a wonderful song, and I’m almost sort of sad that I just immediately associate it with a transsexual serial killer that wants me to put the lotion on the skin.

 

I’m not sure why, but that image above remains one of my favorite rock and roll pictures. It’s not even a picture of the whole band. I’m pretty sure that’s just Kim and Thurston rocking out on stage, but there’s just something about the image that captures the feel of Sonic Youth. I’m not a photography critic so I don’t really know what that is per se, but it’s just a great picture of the duo. Anywho, long time readers may know that I’m not actually all that crazy about Evol, but god I fucking love Daydream Nation. I’m shocked I haven’t used this song yet, but maybe I just haven’t felt very energetic in a while. But tomorrow, I’m going to my first WVU home football game in several years, and it’s making me feel young. I’m excited to see Geno Smith and crew run rampant over the Maryland Terrapins. Well, I hope that’s what happens anyway. Geno is the Heisman front runner right now. I’d hate to see him choke against what should be an easy opponent. Anywho, “Teen Age Riot” is one of the defining alternative rock songs of the 80s (and Sonic Youth were in turn one of the defining alternative acts of the 80s and 90s), and everybody should check it out. Enjoy.

I’ve been doing a lot of newer music lately so I thought it would be a good night to kick thing’s old school. I was at work telling my boss that I had a philosophy class tomorrow and almost immediately after the words philosophy came out of my mouth, I started singing the famous line from “What I Am” by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. Apparently, this song came out in 1988. I had been under the impression that it was a 90s song. This song was definitely ahead of the curve in predicting where fem-rock was going to be going in the next five years or so. Anyways, this is just one of my favorite one hit wonder songs for sure. Here’s a really popular song from the late 80s that is smart and witty and well-constructed. It’s always refreshing when the public actually latches onto good music instead of the complete the shit they usually devour. I still can’t believe Adele sold as well as she did. Looking the way she does, it’s a testament to her immense musical talent that she was the success story of 2011. Anyways, I have to review the new Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti album for Baeble (anybody who wants to read my Fall Fest write up can find it here), so I’m going to keep this short.

 

A film that is about children is not necessarily a film for children. The live-action adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are is more a reminiscence on the beauty and horror of childhood (as well as divorce) than it is something specifically meant to entertain kids. While it may have elements that appeal to children, I still contend that Toy Story 3 was truly meant to be enjoyed and appreciated by those who were children when the first film came out. A tragic meditation on the horrors of war and the human consequences of decisions like fire-bombing a small sea-side town does not seem like fodder for your typical children’s film. However, the legendary Studio Ghibli (Howl’s Moving Castle) took that risk and it surely paid off. For if Grave of the Fireflies isn’t one of the most emotionally powerful animated films you’ve ever seen, you may be broken on the inside.

Grave of the Fireflies isn’t just one of the best animated films I’ve seen; it is one of the most harrowing and heartbreaking war films ever made. Set in the waning days of World War II, Seita (Tsutomu Tatsumi) and Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi) are orphans who lost their mother in the fire-bombing of Kobe, Japan. Their father is in the navy but it is unclear whether he is alive or part of the annihilation of virtually the entire Japanese fleet. It doesn’t matter. You never see or hear from him. Although Seita and Setsuko are originally allowed to live with an aunt, her greed and uncharitable attitude towards the two children (Seita is  a young teenager. Setsuko is four five) to run away and attempt to make it on their own. Though they are able to find sustenance at first, it becomes quickly apparent that Seita and Setsuko won’t be able to make it on their own.

This is not a children’s movie. Although the film’s director claimed during it’s release that it was meant to be a reminder to Japanese youth (who in the 80s were experiencing record levels of juvenile delinquency) of the tragedies that befell their parents and grandparents, this is an anti-war film through and through. Children’s movies don’t generally cause the viewer to have his hands over his face in horror for the entire film. Children’s films may make you cry (The Iron Giant, Toy Story 3, Up), but they don’t leave you feeling nearly dead inside when the film is done. Grave of the Fireflies was heart-wrenching to the point that it caused me physical pain to watch the movie. Not since The Road have I sat through a film so emotionally powerful. If the notion of two children struggling (and failing) to survive in war-torn Japan sounds tough to bear, it’s cause it will be. I’m crying writing about the film.

Grave of the Fireflies joins that rare breed of film which offers almost nothing in the way of “entertainment” and is instead meant to horrify and educate its viewers. It sends a very potent political message (even if the screen-writer/director claims that wasn’t his intent), and if you’ve ever celebrated the U.S.’s actions in Japan during World War II, this film will remind you of the human costs of that victory. When you discover that most of the film is a true story (it’s an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel), it becomes nearly too real to handle. The film is full to the brim of tiny details that speak to the real-life horror that the novel’s author, Akiyuki Nosaka, suffered along with his sister and countless other Japanese orphans who fell through the cracks during the last months of the war. Along with Das Boot, it is one of the only war films that completely avoids any accidental glorification of war. It is pure horror.

The film’s animation is stunning. Whether it’s capturing the horror of the bombings, the physical degradation that Seita and Setsuko suffer due to malnutrition, or the rare moments of beauty the film offers, the animation always complements the action on screen. The film uses a recurring firefly visual motif which represents the impermanence of life (it’s both a Japanese cultural symbol as well as a visual concept that is readily apparent even to cultural outsiders), and the fireflies show up in one of the rare uplifting moments of the film (which is of course subverted shortly thereafter to break your heart again). Seita and Setsuko have moved to a small shelter inside a hillside. It’s dark and Setsuko is scared so Seita captures dozens of fireflies in a pot and releases them into the cave (which they can’t leave because of mosquito nettings). It’s simply a gorgeous and happy moment which are fleeting and rare, and the film instantly reminds you what kind of movie you’re watching when Setsuko has to bury them all in the very next scene.

The film also makes great use of color and moments of visual poetry that transform the scenes from simple visual representations of what happened Nosaka’s life into something more artistic. Without wanting to spoil some of the more tragic aspects of the film, the movie makes great use of tinting and color-wash to let us know what events are occurring and when moments are perceived more as spiritual and ethereal. The film’s score is also hauntingly effective as there’s a moment towards the end of the film where Seita and Setsuko’s suffering has become total where you see a different family return to their home, unbroken and with all of their belongings (and family) intact, and their record player sets off a gut-wrenching version of “Home Sweet Home.”

If I had to look for flaws in the movie, the obvious one is that Setsuko and Seita are never actually characterized. Instead, they’re meant to be the ultimate sympathetic constructs for the viewers to imprint their heartbreak and horror on. Some might accuse the director of trying to manipulate the audience’s emotion, but since so much of the film is true, he can avoid that charge. This film, once and for all, settles any debate as to whether or not anime can be considered the equal of the “purer” art of live-action cinema (or Western animation). Considering that this film is a truer and more unbearable representation of war than many so-called serious, live-action war films, I think the conversation is pretty much moot. Everyone needs to watch this movie, regardless of how you feel about anime. My only recommendation is that you have several boxes of tissues handy. You’re going to need them.

Final Score: A

I’m still working my way backwards after all of the new bands for Bonnaroo. I’ll probably try to pepper in some newer stuff to make up for any old music ennui, but for now, my Song of the Day is kicking it old school. Of course, thankfully, there’s still plenty of great independent music from before 1990 so that I don’t have to make all of my older choices established classics (although there’s nothing wrong with using those tracks). I’ve become a big They Might Be Giants fan ever since I covered one of their concerts in New York City for work. It’s the second best concert I’ve been too (behind Bon Iver at Bonnaroo and barely edging out the Shins in New York). Though TMBG experienced most of their fame in the 90s, they have a pretty seminal album (for indie music fans) from the late 80s, the classic Lincoln. Picking a song off of it was pretty easy. I’m going with my all-time favorite They Might Be Giants song, “Ana Ng.” It’s just a perfect, catchy, weird, and awesome post-punk rocker. It’s got the typical TMBG weirdness but it’s also one of their more low-key songs (i.e. it doesn’t involve a personification of a particle or explaining that Istanbul is no longer called Constantinople). After I saw them live, I probably listened to this song at least a dozen or so times a day for about three weeks.

If humidity is taken into account, it is supposed to feel like it’s over 90 degrees here in NYC today after last week where I wore my pea coat and/or leather jacket all week and still felt uncomfortably cold. At one point last week, it snowed in my home state of WV. So, obviously these sudden and dramatic changes in weather are playing games with my sinuses, and at the moment, I feel like a grape being squeezed to make wine. Which is to say, I feel miserable and it’s why I’m up before my usual wake up time. I’ve actually been waking up off and on for the last several hours and I eventually had to give up on sleep twenty minutes ago. So, I figured I’d get my song of the day post out of the way early. This choice has been inspired by discussions I had with a friend about the way that children (men or women) learn about violence against women (and/or how to behave in general) by the way that their parents act and the responsibility that good parents have to take their children out of dysfunctional environments. “Fast Car” is about generational poverty and it’s a heartbreaking tune that without question remains one of my favorite songs of the 1980s if not my very favorite.

 

Since the blog was originally dedicated solely to movies (before it expanded to include other fields0, it should hopefully come as no shock that movies are a fairly integral part of my life. I always loved movies as a youth, but my status as a movie aficionado didn’t really set in until my first trip to Disney World the summer after my 9th grade. While I love virtually every inch of Disney World, MGM Studios remains my undisputed favorite of all of the parks (after three separate visits over the last decade), and even though it’s essentially a glorified tour, MGM Studio’s Great Movie Ride is also my favorite ride at the whole of Disney World. Sitting through that (and to a lesser extent, the Backlot tour) opened up a love of classic and modern cinema that has only gotten stronger with each passing year. During that initial trip, I bought a trivia book about AFI’s Top 100 American movies and tried to devour as many of the films on the list as I could, and when I returned as a freshman in college, I bought not one, not two, but three books on movies, including a comprehensive Oscar history book, a massive coffee table book that is an illustrated history of cinema from the late 1800’s to the early 2000’s, and the NY Times 1000 greatest movies ever made.

When all of the other pleasures of my youth (politics, poker, and countless other hobbies) lost their flavor, movies only grew in stature. I don’t think I could ever participate in the production of the film (though I’ve started on several unfinished screenplays), but watching and writing about the movies I love gives me more pleasure than anything else out there. The first time I was bowled over the gorgeous cinematography of Ran or had my mind blown by a David Lynch film or stood amazed when I saw Daniel Day Lewis act for the first time, those are all memories as tangible and important as anything in “real life”. Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in 1988, and for anyone with a deep and heartfelt love of cinema and whose heart has been touched by those fleeting images on screen, this is your story brought to life in as haunting and beautiful a way possible. The film drags at times and I occasionally felt lost in cultural references I didn’t fully comprehend, but for all movie lovers everywhere, this is for you.

Cinema Paradiso is the heavily autobiographical and personal tale of director Giuseppe Tornatore’s childhood in Sicily. A successful director, Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita (Jacques Perrin), has lived in Rome for the last 30 years without once returning to his childhood home of Giancardo, Sicily. One night, he comes home to find a message from his mostly estranged mother saying that his childhood mentor, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), has passed away. The movie then flashes back to Toto’s childhood (played as a child by Salvatore Cascio) in post World War II Sicily with his impoverished mother and a father who in all likelihood died fighting the Russians. Toto befriends Alfredo, the middle-aged projectionist for the local theater, where Toto instantly falls in love with the world of movies (and it seems the town spends most of its time in the theater). As Toto grows up, he eventually takes over the projectionist duties into his teenage years (Marco Leonardi) where he falls in love, spends his time in the army, and eventually grows beyond Giancardo. Alfredo encourages Toto to leave his hometown and pursue his dreams, and Toto doesn’t come back until 30 years later to pay respect to the memory of his departed friend and witness the way his town has changed.

If that sounds like I described essentially the entire story of the film there, I did, but it’s not the plot here that matters. It’s the gorgeous, minute details (which are on rare occasions, excessive). Before I looked up to see whether this film was based on the director’s real life, I could already tell simply because of how honest and genuine this story felt. There are plenty of films out there about making movies (Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 and Inland Empire spring immediately to mind), but I’ve never seen such a beautiful tribute to movies themselves. The film is abound with footage from classic films, and every detail of the lighting and the framing of the shots reminds you simply of how much Giuseppe Tornatore loves classic cinema. It shows the way films brought communities together before they were a million ways to entertain yourself cut off from the rest of the world (a fact that is already being bemoaned in this film made in the 80’s). It shows how a passion for art and entertainment can transform not only your own life but of everyone else around you. It does all this and manages to avoid maudlin sentimentality and cheap emotional tricks for the entire running time which is a feat in and of itself.

With the possible exception of the youngest incarnation of Toto who goes back and forth between an astonishingly natural performance for a child actor and then a more common state of more obvious child acting, the performances here are simply spectacular. Despite being an uneducated and unsuccessful man, Alfredo is turned into an eloquent and emotionally complex individual through Philippe Noiret’s rich characterization. He quickly became one of the best adopted father figures in cinema history that I have seen and I was even more impressed here than I was with Omar Sharif in a similar role for Monsieur Ibrahim. Marco Leonardi nailed the angst, ennui, and frustration that was eating away at the Toto who was becoming increasingly trapped in his small little world when he was clearly meant for so much more. Jacques Perrin however was the real scene-stealer. He had the fewest lines of all of the incarnations of Toto, but his effortlessly emotive face and marvelously subtle renderings of Toto’s grief and nostalgia upon returning to his hometown made the final thirty minutes of the movie the truly legendary scenes they’ve become.

That isn’t to say that this movie is perfect. Unfortunately, the film can occasionally be scattershot in its approach, and it’s spend a significant portion of its time developing the character of the town Giancardo and its various eccentric figures, such as the priest who bans any scenes of kissing in the theatre (which is originally in his church) or the homeless man who believes the town square to be his or the rich man who spits on the socialists in the theatre when they boo bourgeois characters; however, there doesn’t seem to be much pay-off for any of these characters expect for perhaps one whose details I won’t go into for fear of spoiling one of the few parts of the plot I haven’t explained. The film is only a little over two hours but you often feel like it’s much longer (and I hear the director’s cut adds another hour which would just ruin the film for me), and while it’s ending is perfect and turned me into a sobbing mess of emotion, the rest of the film could have used some steadier editing so that the story could have stayed focus on Toto and his relationship with the loveable curmudgeon Alfredo.

Cinema Paradiso is simply a film made by a movie fan for movie fans. It captures the lost innocence of childhood better than any film I’ve seen in ages, but it gives hope to so many of us out there who may be afraid to pursue our passions. Beautiful acting, beautiful filmmaking equate to an unforgettable cinematic experience. It is a foreign film and therefore subtitled in Italian as a warning to those who find this review compelling enough that you would wish to watch this. Though at this point, I give up on people that can’t watch foreign movies. If you’re at least in high school and can’t sit through subtitles, you are making a conscious (and poor) decision to eliminate the possibility of seeing so many classic foreign films that often make our trite American productions seem embarrassingly amateur-ish in comparison. For anyone with even the slightest interest in deeply emotional storytelling and the great selection of movies from overseas, I have no reservations in recommending Cinema Paradiso to you.

Final Score: A

Now would be as appropriate a time as any to explain just how it is I approach critiquing the movies and TV I watch for this blog as it will bear heavily on my review for this film and why this film is getting one scores and other anime different scores. I’m a firm believer that movies (and it goes the same for TV, books, music, and video games as well) should be judged based on the intentions of its creators rather than the expectations of its audience. For example, I gave Jackass 3 and The Fighter the same score. Obviously, The Fighter is the more important and socially valuable film. However, its creators had the intention of creating a serious and artistic film that I felt they failed to achieve at a particularly high standard. Jackass was about dick jokes and scatological humor but you couldn’t have expected any thing else from that crew. Hence, both films got “B”s. If you’re only intention is to be fun and entertaining and you achieve those goals, then I’m going to give you a decently good review even if you’re not necessarily art. However, if you try to be art and fail, then your review will suffer. I bring this all up because the film I just watched, Akira, is about to get the same score as a children’s anime that is popcorn cartooning, but I felt it succeeded at its goals better than Akira which tries to be serious art and is more of  a confused and muddled mess.

Akira is a 1988 anime that could best be classified as post-apocalyptic cyber-punk. It tells the story of two friends who are members of the same biker gang in Neo-Tokyo, the city of Tokyo which has been rebuilt after a cataclysmic event destroyed it 30 years ago. Kaneda is the head of the biker gang, the Capsules, and his best friend is Tetsuo, a boy who has been bullied and mistreated his whole life. One day, Tetsuo runs into an escaped mutant who was part of a secret government project. Somehow, the boy transfers some of his powers to Tetsuo who is also quickly taken in by the government and experimented on. Eventually, Tetsuo begins to go insane from the power and experiments and goes on a super-powered rampage through Neo-Tokyo and it is up to Kaneda and a small group of freedom fighters to end the destruction.

The hand-drawn animation of the film is absolutely gorgeous. I watched this on the Blu-Ray edition and the movie’s artwork was simply beautiful. Had I not recognized certain aspects of the animation as being inherently 1980’s in style, I would have believed that this could have been a new release. There were plenty of vibrant and crisp colors mixed with an engaging style and beautiful city-scapes. While the plot itself (which I’ll get to those critiques shortly) might have escaped me, I definitely found myself engaged with fantastic art and animation. However, the plot was not quite so entertaining. This film wanted to be “serious business” and to be taken seriously. However, it explained little to almost none of what was happening in ways that made a lot of sense. I get that this is what happens when you try and condense a 2000 page manga into a two hour long film. Lots of things are going to be left on the cutting room floor. That being said, why try and condense it that much when so much of the plot is going to be left out to the point of things no longer making sense.

Don’t misinterpret this as me disliking the film. I enjoyed it. There were plenty of awesome moments in it to make up for how confusing it could be, and the scene at the end where Tetsuo’s powers are spiraling completely out of control is some serious nightmare fuel. It was disturbing. Actually, I bet I would really enjoy the manga as all of the different subplots of the film would actually be given a chance to develop and mature rather than fly by me at lightning speed. If you’re a fan of anime, this is definitely must watch material. I spend so much time watching shonen series that it’s nice to have something that at least tries to be for grown-ups. This film might not be as mature and deep as it wants it to believe it is, but it’s still entertaining.

Final Score: B+