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Charisma Reviews

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Drew S

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2010
As a writer, I have always found Kiyoshi Kurosawa to lack focus. As a director, he is nothing short of brilliant. Here I'm starting to pick up, absorb and understand many of his visual choices, such as his constant filming of his actors in long shot. This is a quiet way of informing the audience that, despite their importance in the narrative at large, they are trivialized by the forces around them - in Pulse, the overwhelming crush of isolation and technological despair; here, the fulfillment of a depressing utilitarian philosophy, represented both through Koji Yakusho's failed policeman and Charisma, the tree that's poisoning all the other trees. Yakusho is small, just as society would have him belief, and it's none of their concern whether he lives or dies. Everything is meant to die someday.

Or at least, that's what I distilled from the film. There are a lot of things going on in Charisma, many of which dead-end without any attempt at resolution or explanation. The sanitarium director's wife, the professor and her sister with the weird coat, and the mysterious militia with an unexplained need to cut down Charisma all fall by the wayside by the end of the film. I could make suppositions as to their purposes, but next to the overall theme of the film they feel unimportant and wasted. It's an uncomfortably familiar sensation in Kurosawa's films, almost all of which feel overstuffed and oddly thin at the same time (Pulse evades this, and Seance to a lesser extent).

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2006
There are some dangerous trees. He blew up one and it blew up the city??? I'm not really sure what the point of this movie was. I think it was suppose to be environmental but it was just confusing and not in a good way.
February 20, 2014
Given what I have seen before of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's work, I was expecting this to be a horror movie and probably a pretty strange one. It certainly is a strange movie, even more bizarre and enigmatic than the director's Bright Future. But it is not a horror movie or a thriller. As with Bright Future, I don't understand the way it ended and I'm at a loss for what it all was about but it certainly gave me a lot to think about and I enjoyed watching it.
October 27, 2006
as a story, even the director admits that it's a failure,a dnthe due to budget restirctions and nosy production execs that it strayed from his dream. it's still decent and compelling, but the alagory is sometimes confusing, somethimes illogical, and never reallyshows what it's tryng to say. perhaps thats the nature of it's existential theme, but not many people will see that. HOWEVER!!!! if it were a collection of photography, it would be fucking fanastic. kiyoshi has an amazing and impartial style that is layered is a fabulous way. he uses the locations brilliantly, coreographs his actors very well, and uses so many visual paths through motion on the screen your eyes want to just wander and drink in the lush tapisry that he has created. that alone makes this movie worth seeing.
June 2, 2007
Took me a while to get into it. Blatantly genre-bending. The movie is about a tree. Sometimes the human drama is distracting. Kudos for the unclassifiable film, though.
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