WOW! What a movie! Very Impressive! Has a very-disturbing story presented with the most beautiful visuals (as well as special effects) you can imagine as incredible director Tetsuya Nakashima plays with colors by tinting scenes -like the blue effect that predominates while story is inside the classroom- then shows very fast short scenes with texturized full color, goes to dark tones –when telling student A story- and the most delicate visual effects –like when bubble explodes in ear-. From beginning until the very end –including cuts to visuals while credits are rolling- film becomes one the most visually outstanding films I have seen lately.
But what marvels me most is that all of the above plus the music score and sounds are essential part of the storytelling contributing to make the very disturbing story very intense. Try to imagine this: impressive visuals, great sound effects, mesmerizing music and add outstanding mostly poked faced and sometimes monotonous voice performance by Takatu Matsu (Yoku Moriguchi) plus unbelievable good performances by teenage actors in lead roles and you have an almost perfect movie that is a true pleasure to watch.
But what makes this movie even most outstanding is how Nakashima converted a simple not really disturbing story from bestselling novel by Kanae Minato into a very intense, emotional draining and disturbing film. To me film felt like huge roller coaster that took me from one emotion into the next easily while constantly getting me surprised with one story twist after the other. Experience was not only emotional but very physical as I felt like if someone was slapping me or was pushing me back and forth and sideways in both directions. That’s how intense this movie is. Consequently I believe movie is not for the weak of heart.
Movie has been called a psychological thriller but to me is a strong drama with a slight tint of very unusual ‘horror’ and a little gore that’s no big deal if you have seen other Japanese films or better, most American films that glorify gore. I don’t watch horror films but gladly will watch this movie again, so horror is truly of the unusual kind. Can’t believe that I’m saying all this when story IS repulsive, but honestly, is gloriously repulsive. It’s so strange, think that is my first experience with a film that has so many non-pleasant elements (mainly in story) and I’m so excited about it.
Anyway, I strongly recommend this unbelievable good film especially to those that like stylish art house cinema and I’m saying this even when this film is mainstream Japanese cinema but the visuals are so fantastic that absolutely will blow your mind and eyes.
So what's story about? On the surface film tells about middle school teacher Yoko Moriguchi whose life comes crashing down after the death of her 4-year-old daughter which she suspects was no accidental death but murder and murder was committed by two of her class students. In a fabulous and long monologue Moriguchi tells the class that she’s quitting, so starts to tell her recent life story and her version of who murdered her daughter: Student A and student B who are identified by their classmates and the most twisted, dark, violent story unravels in the most spectacular way you never imagined.
It’s a very emotional draining film that definitively is must be seen by many that read this blog and as we all know is Japan submission to 2011 Oscar that made it to the shortlist but didn’t got a nomination. Pity.
Watch trailer @MOC