Reviewbr> "Do you want to see a real ghost?" - Website
A mob of florists or something are waiting on their mate to deliver some software for no explained reason, and eventually one of the chicks heads to the missing bloke's apartment to find out what's with the no show. She gets the software but is on hand when the bloke decides to bite the bullet by hanging himself. That was pretty hard to do by the looks of the low ceiling, resourceful dead dude our call.
Meanwhile the most computer challenged teen in the whole world is just jacking into the Internet, but must have done something wrong as he can only go to one site. Normally we would be a box of birds if that site was scaryminds.com but unfortunately the site is about meeting ghosts. Our computer challenged teen decides to switch the computer off, as there's probably a forum of emos behind the site. The computer has other ideas and switches itself back on later when computer boy is sleeping. We later learn he's an economics student, explains the non savvy computer malarky, when he heads into the computer lab to get some help. Ever tried getting advice from a computer help desk peon? Yeap about as much use as tits on a bull to our boy genius.
Our plant growers, anyone else wondering how in flock that rooftop nursery can support four people, are noticing people are disappearing and if anyone looks moody and alienated, that would be emo, then they are going to vanish real soon.
Seems the dead are heading back to the land of the living via a doorway into their overflowing plan of existence, and your guess is as good as ours how they are managing that. Has something to do with that new fangled internet thing, a website where you are asked if you want to meet a ghost, and skid marks on walls and floors.
This movie moves from the realms of simple horror to exploring modern isolation via increased communication options
Economics boy Kawashima and florist/plant girl Michi are soon knee deep in the mystery, ghosts, and the holocaust to end all holocausts. Pull up a pew, crack a beer, the team are heading on in for our view of Kairo.
The Friday night double header was upon us again so the big brown coach was loaded on the back of the Ute and the DVD player was warmed up. For tonight's theme we decided to dial in some Asian scares, as hell we're all about cultural exchanges and the like. Besides which HMV were having a going out of business sale, so we got 25% off the already low marked price. As opposed to our competition, we put our hard earns on the table for our movies, just like you do. First up then was Kario called Pulse in the wide brown land, and not to be confused with the dud teen flick out of Hollywood. Seems Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is something of a legend in the mystical east, but none of us could say we had earned a Guernsey via catching any of his previous flicks. So we were all Kurosawa virgins heading into this one. Did the Director get on the blower the next day, or was there no love involved?
Kairo is one of those engaging Asian horror movies that drags you in and then leaves you wondering just what the story is. Confusing as hell till we started to work it out about midway through and then it got real interesting. Kurosawa isn't chucking in any of those big Tokyo neon lite signposts, you are either going to get onboard his freight train or you are going to be left at the station. We respect that in a Director and had more fun than a barrel fill of monkeys in Dubbo on a Saturday night working it all out for ourselves. There's exactly one scene where the big K does some expose, and you are going to have to pay attention to join the dots.
There are some real money shots in this movie and Kurosawa is all over them like a rash. A plane goes down in Tokyo, freaking awesome visually and stunning in execution. The long shots of a deserted Tokyo smoldering away brought to mind Danny Boyle's work in 28 Days Later. And the superimposing during some of the "ghost" scenes was well handled.
What really had the team nodding in approval was Kurosawa's overall morbid atmosphere, the use of colours to highlight inner feelings, and the general feel of loneliness and isolation his characters suffer through. The movie has a drabbed washed out look to it that highlights the themes the Kster is exploring with Kairo.
Speaking about themes Kurosawa is coming at us like an enraged Waratah loosie. This movie is all about being alone and isolated, while having available more communications technology than Telstra can lay claim to. Throughout the flick we have characters alone, in deserted locations, and just to make them feel real warm and cosy it's also raining a lot. And then you die and it apparently gets worse, Kurosawa cheerfully informs us. The bloke must be a riot at parties! For the few Far North Queenslanders that may have found the site by accident, Kman is pointing out that technology, while allowing greater access to communication than ever experienced before, also enforces a solo aspect on users. Guess Kurosawa has never been on a Sydney train with a texting mob of sheilas heading into various offices. Or maybe that's exactly what he's talking about. Your call, and what the hell is the collective term for a flock of chicks hitting the mobile like it's the last pair of shoes in a Grace Bros sale?
I didn't award the movie a full ten due to some lagging during the second act. A couple of scenes seem to go on for hours and broke the overall pace of proceedings. Kairo needed another editing to tighten things up, and some more scenes of a deserted Tokyo certainly wouldn't have gone a miss.
Kairo is of course in Japanese necessitating subtitles on those who don't have a working knowledge of the language. Generally I have no idea if the actors are doing a decent job if subtitles are tuned in, and it was no different here. No one fixed their pork pies on the camera, so we'll give the whole mob a passing mark. Standouts for mine were Koyuki as the ill fated Harue, and Kumiko Aso as a cute looking Michi.
Well fark me nothing to report on the T&A stakes here. No boobs, no full frontals, no bare bums in view during the course of the entire movie. The Ladies, any of them actually read the site, get a tool though. Not in a good way girls, Haruhiko Kato looks like a tool and acts like a tool in every scene his economics boy appears in. Sorry but needed to be said mate.
Kairo is one of those movies that will either grab you by the short and curlies or leave you wondering when the good parts are going to happen. The whole movie is atmospheric like there's no tomorrow, with some "now you see them now you don't" jolts going down. A couple of scenes had me clinching my butt checks together, computer challenged boy going into that room and the chick high diving off the tower, and yes overall I had the chill running down my spine. Kurosawa adds the horror by what he doesn't show, and if you have the imagination dialed to high then you are in for a rough time with implied happenings.
Kurosawa knocks them off the back of the Ute with his scare tactics is my call.
Takefumi Haketa did the original music and we get strings happening and a few orchestral movements in the dark. Overall Kurosawa doesn't resort to the score though, and Kairo is littered with chilling sound bites, eerie silences, and crash bang loudness in places. The Director uses the score sparingly but to good effect.
With Kairo Kurosawa swoops on the loose ball, finds a gap in mid field, palms off the Fullback, and dots down under the posts. For good measure he trots back to the 25 and drops the extras to the sound of an applauding crowd. Hell yeah, great atmospheric movie that does full justice to other recent Rising Sun outings. The Ute was rocking, and the team were cheering, Kurosawa knows how to make a horror movie, and Kairo is simply stunning in conception and delivery.
For the purposes of this review the R4 Eastern Eye version of the movie was viewed. A great package once again by the good guys at EE, with a choice selection of extras for those who want more than just a movie. Crisp digital reproduction, clear subtitles, and overall worth the money.
This movie is recommended to readers who enjoy ghost stories, Asian cinema, or classic slow burners. If you liked Ju-On then you can be safe in the knowledge that Kario matches that movie scene for scene. The team certainly wouldn't be kicking this movie out for eating crackers in bed. If you don't like Kario then you just might need to check your pulse. (Can't believe I just wrote that).