April 1, 2017
Review #922: Himiko.
Shima Iwashita (Himiko), Masao Kusakari (Takehiko), Rie Yokoyama (Adahime), Choichiro Kawarazaki (Mimaki), Kenzo Kawarazaki (Ikume), Yoshi Kato (Ohkimi), Jun Hamamura (Narrator), Tatsumi Hijikata (Dancer), and Rentarō Mikuni (Nashime) Directed by Masahiro Shinoda.
Ah yes, another world cinema film, this time from Japan. What is it about? Well...it's a movie about a shaman queen who falls in love with her half-brother and how this love jeopardizes her powers. When it comes to fantasy-dramas, this certainly stands out as something different. There is a good deal of surreal nature to everything, with blends of myth and passion. Obviously this is not a movie striving for too much historical accuracy (seemingly reminding me of a soap opera at times), but Shinoda seems to know what he is doing with his vision for the movie with regards to mood. It's not always easy to solve the cipher that is this movie, but it is at least somewhat compelling enough to at least see how it plays itself out. There definitely is a good deal of style with regards to how the movie looks (along with how it is shot), with numerous shots having a black background among the set pieces.The score is also pretty eerie and striking for the movie and deservingly so. Iwashita is pretty decent in the title role, expressing numerous moods and expressions usefully enough, with some strange chemistry with Kusakari. Speaking of which, Kuraskari is okay, even if he doesn't give too much expressions at points, though his passion is evident at times. Yokoyama is also pretty alright in the film. Mikuni is also fairly adequate. The movie is likely more entertaining to watch for what it shows rather than the performances, but there is enough spectacle and other-worldly nature to make for a useful watch. What other movie can have its climax include a sword fight in the middle of a mountainside after having one of its characters get tortured (along with a twist that isn't as strange as the movie is)? The experimental nature of the film may not be for everyone, but if one can find this I'm sure that you'll get something out of it.
When it came time for April Fool's Day to come about, I wanted to review something a bit on the weird side (previous April 1st reviews include #033 - Smokey and the Bandit, #115 - Return of the Jedi and its Redux Review, #362 - Mac & Me, #788 - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with the latter two ending up as jokes on myself), so I decided to do a bit of searching and this one had come up as a choice. Strange how it had been six months since the last world cinema film. In any case, I hope for a happy month of April for all of you at home.
Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.