Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Yoshimichi Furukawa’s Darkside Blues, movie review by Travis Hedge Coke
In a time of corporate rule and oppressive, violent poverty, what we need is… dream therapy? If pretty anachronisms arriving by horse-drawn carriage out of an impressive hole in the depths of Tokyo’s slums is to be believed. Or, did he ride down from the moon? It’s difficult to follow amidst all the corruption.
Plenty of connective tissues, chains of causes to arrive us at an effect, are done without in Darkside Blues. It is not dream logic, though the way causality is obliquely addressed, maybe it is lucid dream logic. It is too comedic to be nightmarish, too simple, but knowing it should be horrific, and instead seeing only a pantomime, is somehow more disturbing.
Hotels, in the movie, work the way the idea works; you go in and go to the room you intend. There are no intermediate steps.
A world-dominating corporation called Persona, threatened by dream therapy.
The song for which the movie is named is performed with the kind of artifice that makes it feel all the more genuine, and is forgotten nearly as soon as it has finished.
Everything, even the most ludicrous, is taken in stride, so jaded are the citizens of the Tokyo Darkside, and their elitist counterparts, the ruling family of Earth. But, with all that acceptance, even the assassin Enji cannot take his pseudo-ethnicized “Africa” gear. Enji may be the virtual Doubting Thomas here, though, as he is overly delighted to see someone bleed red once he’s thrown a flower into their chest.
Maybe these things should not be taken for granted. The cleanest characters in the movie, a terrorist and a former doctor, have a conversation about the worst eating you have to endure in the pursuit of justice; it slides off into a cataloging of atrocities visited on various peoples in the name of corporate growth, nuclear and biological warfare, a peace “rotten to the core” and the general cowardice of the tired human being.
Peace, or lunch, maybe should be questioned and approached as carefully as entering a strange building with rooms but no hallways, staircases that reach out and grab you, weird doctors wearing dickies as they descend from a hole that breaches the sky and the earth, the stars and the pavement, to come visit a ghetto.