Sunday, 21 July 2013
Perfect Blue (1997) - ★★★½
Writers: Sadayuki Murai (Screenplay), Yoshikazu Takeuchi (Novel)
Perfect Blue is one of the creepiest animated movies I've ever seen. It's pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for the most part. Well, up until the end anyway. This isn't a movie I'll ever want to watch again, but I respect the cool twists and beautiful animation. At times it was boring, and other times it was very thrilling. The deal-breaker for me was the amazing psychological twist at the end, which left me shocked and pleasantly surprised at how exciting it all was. It's rude, it's disturbing, and it's nightmarish... but it's also very interesting.
Mima Kirigoe is a pop-idol that just wants to become a serious actress. She leaves her pop-trio, 'Sham', to pursue her new career, which turns out to be much more tasking than being a pop-idol. A rabidly obsessed fan of Mima is distraught over her leaving the pop business, so he takes matters into his own hands. We soon find out that someone has been watching Mima every hour of the day and documenting her movements on a web-diary... and all the people who have had detrimental effects on her image start dying in gruesome and similar ways.
Mima happens to be an idiot. She's so stupid that I found it very frustrating to get through the first hour of the film! There isn't much substance to her either. She's pretty, sweet and talented. That's all we really know about her. As for her hallucination's, they're really over the top. She must have a serious undiagnosed medical condition to be convinced that she's chasing her pop-idol self down a crowded street... and don't give me that crap about depression and stress causing the hallucination, because this goes way beyond that!
At times the quality of the animation is pretty bad, but that's to be expected due to the limited technology in the late nineties. Yet, Studio Ghibli's films from the same era looks great... hmm. At times there's some awesome scenes and cinematography, particularly when she's pondering about this and that.
Perfect Blue has a majorly creepy, unsettling vibe at the start. I got goosebumps when I found out someone had been watching her every single day. To be honest, they built up the suspense masterfully. My heart was racing at times. There's one thing I don't understand though. While the Japanese women look normal (and some beautiful), all of the men look like freaks with distorted wonky faces. They're painting a pretty gross picture of the men in Japan!
The villain's face and obsessive personality is the stuff of nightmares. The way he smiled... it made my skin crawl. He plays with Mima's mind, gets her to second guess herself as an actress so that she will become a pop-idol again.
Here's what disturbed me the most though. I don't know what it is with the Japanese, but they sure love to make their female characters scream and cry like little girls. Mima has to act in a scene where her character is raped. Of course we see a lot of her naked body... but we also hear her screaming like an 8 year old. I've seen it before in many Japanese films, and I can't understand why so many do it. I have never been to Japan myself, so I can't say whether or not most girls sound like that when they scream. It appears to be obligatory for mature Japanese shows and films to include 'little-girl screams'.
There's a mind-blowing, awesome twist at the end! It redeemed a lot of the faults, and somehow made me like this movie. It went from average to genius in lickety split timing, because it makes you look back on many things and wonder how you missed the clues. So overall, I don't really like this movie... but it has a lot of good aspects to it. I guess I found it too shuddersome and weird to enjoy.