harold strong’s review published on Letterboxd:
“At the time it seemed the natural thing to do.”
Won't sleep. All I see are chalky white rooms and all I hear is the insignificant and mundane sounds of civilization punctuated to execrable degrees; the spell this film puts you under. It is cinema like this that attempt to rob the viewer of any preconceived notions of human nature and interrogates the inhibitions we carry about how we perceive the actions of others. Why others are the way they are and why people do what they do. These shattering revelations render us mute, agency ripped away, and slowly peels the layers of our delicately preened shells, ones of our own making, exposing our innate desire to articulate the incomprehensible to which we always will fail. Like with Kairo, Kurosawa takes us into the void once again. Horror cinema thrives off the visceral horsepower of chaotic violence and echoing screams down endless hallways as prime sensationalist art but with films like these they settle for the inverse where once occupied spaces are siphoned of their life force until we only see the reality of what they are; industrialized manifestations of purgatorial stasis. Corrupted places with equally fragmented people geometrically placed within the frame, eliciting helplessness; the spiraling sense that as spectator we are just as trapped as the characters. Sometimes it’s this idea of grounded truth that extends fear into our consciences more effectively than fantastical realms do. It can be great watching films like this in solitary but it’s also a nightmare because it unearths the deep loneliness one can feel in the midst of the muffled insanity and droning obsession of a procedural such as this. Just as much a manifesto on the act of murder as it is on how to solve one. The walk home in the city has never felt so immediately threatening. Concrete hell; cursed opus.