Bright Future

Bright Future

2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5

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Buddies Mamoru (Asano Tadanobu) and Yuji (Odagiri Joe) are connected by broken dreams and Mamoru’s poisonous pet jellyfish. When Mr. Fujiwara (Takashi Sasano) fires Mamoru for not warning him about sticking his hand in the young man’s jellyfish tank, Mamoru subsequently kills the man and his family. From jail, Mamoru teaches Yugi how to help his jellyfish adapt to fresh water in what may or may not be an attack against Tokyo’s populace. After Mamoru kills himself, Yugi befriends his father Shin-ichiro (Fuji Tatsuya). Bright Future is nowhere near as terrifying as Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure, and as such may disappoint fans of the director’s work. Kurosawa is a great genre director, and his best films—from the psychedelic Charisma to the technological spooker Pulse—are largely concerned with the end of modern civilization. These philosophically inquisitive works envision a media-saturated Japan collapsing from the inside out. Bright Future is no exception, and it’s a fabulous mess (though, unfortunately, it’s more “mess” than “fabulous”). The problem with the film is that Kurosawa’s typically rigorous aesthetic feels contradictory and uncertain, though I suppose someone could make the argument that the aimless quality of the film matches the lives of its characters (half the time I didn’t know if I was watching a film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa or Jia Zhang-ke). Kurosawa strains to find a parallel between Mamoru’s jellyfish and his characters’ disaffections. The fish are beautiful to look at, but because the obsessive imagery seemingly demands to be anchored by a more sci-fi milieu, you almost wish the jellyfish had been cut and substituted with more scenes like the great tracking shot that closes the film.

Palm Pictures
93 min
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Odagiri Jô, Asano Tadanobu, Fuji Tatsuya, Sasano Takashi, Shiraishi Marumi, Kase Ryo, Kawahara Miyako, Morishita Yoshiyuki, Oyamada Sayuri, Takagi Ken

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