Foggy’s review published on Letterboxd:
A bit of a wild card choice considering I've been unable to find The Wailing playing anywhere. Not being a big fan of anime, and the trailer really putting me off, I was only really going off positive word of mouth on this, and I actually found it quite a delightful little film that balances big ideas with quite intimate themes of identity.
Essentially a gender swapping tale, a girl who dreams of moving away from her small village to Tokyo finds herself swapping bodies with a slacker teen boy from Tokyo and vice versa on several occasions. Seemingly bound in time by either mystical heritage or cosmic intervention, the two struggle to contact one another as they unable to recall one another's name.
I have to say, firstly, the cinema screen I was in initially started out quite empty, beginning with only a few loners around, but before the film started, the screen had become over three quarters full with people across various ages and backgrounds. I knew the film had been a hit, but it seem word of mouth had worked wonders as well. And you could tell the film had universal appeal since everyone laughed at the same parts and everyone began taking it more seriously as it moved forward.
As for the film itself, it's exceptionally strong, writing is better than usual, tackling some larger than life fantastical elements without feeling clumsy or cheesy, and moments of emotion aren't over played. The story itself begins to slip out of it's grip towards the final third and the wrap up takes a bit of a long winded turn of events, but considering it's both tying fantasy and science fiction in a whimsical but not too sappy way, and doing it with a decent amount of ambiguity, it's forgivable.
The animation is unsurpringly stunning, with a few show stopping sequences allowing for trippy imagery and some moments of larger than life scale. It's let down by the over abundance of J-pop soundtrack, I guess it's targeting young adults in it's native country, but I can't help it, I really dislike j-pop. But other than that, heavily recommended animated film, and probably the best of the year so far, at least from what I've seen.