Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cure (1997) (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

With a much more divided critical base than his much revered namesake, Kurosawa either draws ire or much respect for his genre twisting mindfucks of Asian cinema. I stand somewhere in between because even while I recognise and applaud his intentions and sheer nerve in bending the genre to the extent of esoterica, there's just something hollow left behind. With "Cure", he adds to an oeuvre of stringently erudite horror/thriller by quite obviously referencing the 1995 Sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway system.

He dithers around the subject of cults and finds that searching for identity in a (dys)functional society a much more clamant aspect of a person's descent into GroupThink and susceptibility of persuasion. Deliberately coy and abstract, Kurosawa is an auteur of surrealism and builds a intriguing cross between David Fincher and David Lynch while questioning our buried impulses and slowly pulling back the layers of detachment in a country that's gradually supplanting it's own identity with nothing of note.

Arguing that the diegetic murders are related in more ways than a mysterious amnesiac and a curious X carved in the victims' neck, Kurosawa links the cause to the alienation from our contemporary lifelessness by way of allegory. With no discernable soundtrack aside from the electronic droning, ambience and permutations of desperation in the lone protagonist's voice, Kurosawa demands attention through arduousness in minimalism but relents a caveat before long in its subtle ambiguity.

Rating: 3½ out of 5


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