Second viewing gives me an even greater appreciation for this film’s construction; it’s beautifully assembled, with some meaningful transitions and juxtapositions that I missed the first time around. And, it’s still gutting: a film about cycles of violence, about the sins of fathers being passed down to their sons. Maybe, just maybe, it sheds light on the possibility for those cycles to be broken.
Has there ever been a movie that took such joy in artifice? That presented us with such hollow characters, such cartoony action, such a cumbersome plot, and such staggering overload of bright colors— and somehow made us not only absorbed but invested? You think the visuals are all flash until you realize the brilliant efficiency of the editing, and the rich detail in every frame. And you want to write off the characters as cardboard cutouts until you realize how…
Like Grave of Fireflies, this is a story that had to be told through animation— else, it might be unbearable. And like The Secret of Kells, it uses multiple vocabularies of imagery and color to address different worlds and realities. What strikes me most is how acquainted each character is with cycles of violence— some internalizing brutality, others daring to dream of something different.