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9 Souls (2003)

  Directed by: Toshiaki Toyoda
Written by: Toshiaki Toyoda
Starring: Kôji Chihara, Genta Dairaku, Yoshio Harada, Itsuji Itao, Kee, Ryuhei Matsuda, Onimaru, Takuji Suzuki, Mame Yamada
Links: 9 Souls on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

9 Souls (2003) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Blue Spring (2001).

"Kooky" - a review by pearly

In 9 Souls, nine prison escapees steal a small truck and head to a school near Mount Fuji where, they've been led to believe, a counterfeit king has stashed a bunch of money. We're introduced to each of these nine men as they run from prison, having just escaped. This introduction, combined into the opening credits, is done in a style reminiscent of something you might see in a Guy Ritchie film, with a freeze frame on each of the nine men, and information about them being laid over the top of the picture - stuff like their name, and the reason they were imprisoned (Harada, 13 years, murdered his son). From as early as this, you begin to see the humour that forms a large part of the film.

9 Souls begins as a fairly straight drama with a bunch of humour thrown in for good measure. But as the film progresses, it gets a little bit weirder, then a bit more strange, and so on, until you're starting to compare it to something David Lynch would produce. There's even a scene which harks back to the backwards-talking dream, complete with a red room and a midget (Mame Yamada), from Twin Peaks.

I didn't totally understand everything that was going on in 9 Souls, just as I usually sit there scratching my head during a Lynch film, but it can be fun to try and figure it all out. The other thing that was enjoyable about this film is that it was very well shot. The opening shots are of the sprawling mass of Tokyo from an aerial perspective, and it's just gobsmacking to see this city, and how amazingly huge it is. And then there are lots of other scenes which are interestingly shot in some way, or lit strangely, or coloured weirdly. The scenes where Michiru visits his brother spring to mind, as the offices are like a combined Lynch / Stanley Kubrick style set.

I didn't expect this weirdness from 9 Souls, I was more expecting a straight drama, but it was not unwelcome. A bit of weirdness never goes astray. My only real criticism would be that it is perhaps slightly too long.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 3 Aug 2004

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