Starring: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji
Director: Satoshi Kon
Running Time: 82 mins
Perfect Blue is a Japanese film about a famous pop star who decides to leave her band in order to pursue an acting career, however her decision backfires when she finds herself being stalked by two mysterious beings.
This is a pretty intelligent and shocking movie, and although it is far from a pleasant watch, it’s still a hugely engrossing story for the majority, helped by strong direction and an impressively intricate screenplay.
Let’s start by looking at how intense this film really is. I’m not particularly into anime, so I look at most of it that I haven’t seen as pretty disturbingly weird (I know that’s not true), and this is exactly the stereotype that I think of.
This is both a psychologically disturbing as well as graphically violent film that is simply pretty upsetting to watch. Whether it is the mental turmoil that the main character undergoes throughout in similar fashion to Black Swan, or the creepiness of the stalking throughout, there’s a lot to really scare and upset you if you’re not up to it.
If you do get into it and get through some of the more graphic parts relatively early on, this does become a pretty intriguing film. The pop idol’s descent into almost madness is fascinating, and always unpredictable, with various different forces potentially causing her to lose her mind.
The directing in those stages is pretty impressive too. Satoshi Kon, the director, does an expert job at blending reality and hallucination/dream, making for more confusion, unpredictability and intrigue in the plot as a whole. However, Kon does then go a little over the top with that blurriness of reality, later causing an almost incomprehensible ending that is more distracting than captivating.
There are points in this film when the graphic nature of it all does seem appropriate. Again, it is a little much for non-anime fans like myself, but at some of the more intensely gritty parts of the story, it does play a part in increasing the drama and significance of it all.
Overall, this gets a 7.2 from me, because despite its pretty intense and upsetting atmosphere and content, it is still a smart and largely engaging psychological thriller.