Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Goro Yabuike
as Naoto Kiriyama
as Mitsuko Jinbo
as Satoshi Nakasone
as Chizuru Jinbo
Critic Reviews for Charisma
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Audience Reviews for Charisma
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.
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).
One of those bizarro dream logic movies that really pumps my nads. Contains some of the more blindingly brilliant bits of cinema In recent years. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a certified champ.
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