So, here we go!
Welcome to my very first review on Project Square Eyes, it is Thursday the 2nd November 2017. I hope you enjoy….
So, how did I choose to spend my Halloween this year? Trick or treating? Worshipping The Fallen One in the pensive gloom of my chamber? No, I chose to spend it watching the 20th anniversary one-off showing of the Japanese Animé classic Perfect Blue (18). After a slight technical hitch at the cinema whereby the film played for five minutes with part of the subtitles cut off at the bottom of the screen, the film was then re-booted and played in all its sublime glory.
Now, I will freely admit I had never seen the film before, having been too young to watch it (and generally not really knowing much at all about films in general, let alone about feature-length Japanese adult animation) upon its release twenty years ago, but I had heard alot about it so was just itching (or perhaps that should be Itchi-ing?) to see it on the big screen.
The film’s plot is one of deep themes and is shot in a genuinely lurid and provocative manner, reminiscent of the kind of thrillers Paul Verhoeven, Brian De Palma and Joel Schumacher used to relish courting controversy with in the Nineties.
Without giving away any of the intriguing plot – my number one rule of film reviewing – the film follows young Miramin, a successful and idolised J-Pop sensation who plumps for a very different career direction, which then prompts a chain reaction of mental collapse and violent murder. But is any of it real? If it is, whose mind is it in? I’m saying nothing more!
The deep themes touched upon earlier during the film’s brief 90 minute running time range from fame, isolation, obsession, loneliness to mental health, the importance of image and even paedophilia with the Japanese music industry. But the themes are integrated smoothly into the plot and the script never feels preachy, laboured or contrived.
References to the Internet, the World Wide Web and URL’s may seem laughably dated now, but it has to be remembered the film is 20 years old now and the Internet was just in its infancy when this film was first released, so in that respect, the film could be considered to be almost ahead of its time back in the day. Plus it at least provides some unintentional amusement amongst all the murk and neon-drenched grot.
The direction is of course beautiful, seductive and dream-like particularly during the surreal and tense finale.
The sexual scenes are tastefully drawn and artfully angled and the violence – particularly during one violent murder scene – is truly wince-inducing.
The twist-ending is not entirely unexpected but, again, the film is 20 years old now and countless thrillers have been made after this so even this has to be forgiven I would say.
As it stands, with its boldness to explore properly adult themes, the beautifully-rendered animation, engaging story, genuinely catchy J-Pop music (inane lyrics about clouds and Love included), interesting gallery of characters / suspects, gruesome violence and raunchy sex scenes make this an Animé film truly worthy of its status as a bona fide classic.
And not a gun-toting Mechanoid warrior in sight.
Thanks for reading, hope to see you again soon!
Project Square Eyes (Tuesday the 2nd November 2017)