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05 9월, 2007

Aragami: A Challenge Well Met

You have to love Japanese film makers. Good directors can actually do stuff for kicks and giggles and get amazing results. Directors Tsutsumi Yukihiki and Kitamura Ryuhei were set a challenge: each was to create a quality, full length movie with one set, one location, only 2 central characters and filmed in 7 days. It was named The Duel Project and produced 2 highly anticipated films. Tsutsumi's efforts produced 2LDK, where two female roommates create a bloodbath in their apartment. Armed with 5 actors (3 peripheral ones) and himself, Kitamura gave us a worthy treat. Aragami.

Set sometime in Feudal Japan, two heavily injured samurai stagger into a remote temple and take refuge. One wakes up finding all his injuries miraculously healed, his partner gone and is wined and dined by his mysterious, seemingly benevolent host, served by an eerily quiet female companion. Turns out the host ain't so great after all. He's actually Aragami, the "raging god of war", a near immortal with a pecadillo for human flesh. He challenges the samurai to a battle to the death.

For those of you expecting an all out samurai sword fight fest though, hold your horses. Kitamura slowly builds a lot of tension through dialogue, adding strange touches of humour and melodrama strewn throughout the piece. What has been done brilliantly is the act of dispensing with a lot of the extraneous bits we come to expect @ the cinema. There is nowhere else but the gorgeous, amazing set, no outside individuals, no distractions. We get get only the briefest of backgrounds on the unnamed samurai and we honestly could not care less. The director seems to have quite carefully sculpted the movie around the demi-god, and gives us a little character study of him, while also exploring the development of a relationship between the two. We get to know Aragami as the story progresses, and even get a window into his possible motivations for such a throw down. As the intensity builds to what are some really all out, solidly choreographed sword-fight scenes, we appreciate more and more that there is nothing to distract us from the battle between the them.

While it does nothing revolutionary, it is a revalation, with brilliant directing and great story telling that gives us a solid entertaining piece of work that should be appreciated by all and is well worth multiple viewings.

4.25 out of 5 for a hugely entertaining movie

댓글 1개:

tomr :

lucky you, all those filims to watch!