Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tokyo Godfathers

Tonight, I watched Tokyo Godfathers, an animae movie directed by Satoshi Kon, the guy who did Perfect Blue. Both movies were extraordinarily good, but for two different reasons. Perfect Blue was a disturbing movie of a girl who, what's the phrase, "descends into madness" when she makes a decision to become an actress after establishing a successful career as a pop star. After she has to film a scene in which the character she's playing is gangraped, she flips and the movie gets progressively darker.

Tokyo Godfathers handles subject matter that's pretty damn dark as well, but its soundtrack does a lot to keep it light, and the use of a whacked remix of Beethoven's 9th goes a long way toward making the movie what it is. Rather than being overimbued with drama, it has these moments of giddiness that balance everything out. One of the characters in the movie is a homeless ex-drag queen. Most directors would likely be tempted to mock such a character or overly sentimentalize the predicaments surrounding the character, but Tokyo Godfathers handles him (and all the other characters as well) with dignity and grace and respect, and still manages to eek out of its audience some laughter at the comedy in stereotypes.

In addition to the detail obviously paid its soundtrack by those who worked on it, the art is rendered with a delicate emotional touch that never moves into overstatement. Each scene in the movie has a definate mood, and it's subtly done enough that you don't realize as you're watching that it's because the sunlight reflecting the snow on the rooftops of Shinjuku is a pink rosy color that makes you feel comfortable and secure even as these characters are grappling with how to handle a baby abandoned in a trash pile.

Altogether, I'd give it five out of five stars; I don't know how it could have been improved upon.


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