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Pulse
DVD disk
Mar 8, 2006 By: Jason Coleman
Pulse order
Director:
Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Actors:
Haruhiko Kato
Kumiko Aso
Koyuki

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A group of friends find that after viewing some eerie looking images over the internet, they are starting to commit suicide and even disappear, one by one. Its a little of THE RING, a pinch of THE GRUDGE, and a splash of DARK WATER. A strange Japanese tale made back in 2001, before the eventual Americanization of these films.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I think the Japanese must have a different sensibility then us. Ive watched the original foreign versions of THE RING RINGU - and THE GRUDGE JU-ON: THE GRUDGE and there is just such a strange inconsistency in the story telling. I cant explain it, but at times, it almost feels like images are simply thrown together, with no thought to a cohesive story. PULSE, a very creepy but also very confusing Japanese thriller, is no exception. While the style and direction by filmmaker Kurosawa is quite original and unsettling, the story telling is downright perplexing. One minute its about a monster that emerges via the internet, then it comes when youre in something called The Forbidden Room, then its actually a force that helps lonely individuals find some sort of inner peace. (Again this is what I got from it, its not gospel!) I was definitely weirded-out by the dark and brooding figures, but the effect is mild at best when you are not following the story and dont really care about any of the characters.

The acting here is not too embarrassing for a foreign film, the actors here do a competent job. Although I did have a tough time differentiating between the different characters, a blame that lies somewhere between the actors and the script. Each person, no matter how big or small the role, must have defining and memorable characteristics in order for the audience to remember them. Here, everyone sort of blends into each other and the result is definitely chaotic and at times, made the film almost unbearable to watch. Director Kurosawa has a lot of potential as a visual filmmaker, but (since he also wrote this!) he needs to work from someone elses screenplay - he could do wonders with the right material. As far as this one goes, its a Rubik's cube of a film, and we all know how long and arduous those take to figure out. Someone really needed to check the throat of this film, because the pulse here is faint at best.
THE EXTRAS
There is definitely not an abundance of features on this disc. Not that there has to be, but at least a commentary on this one would have been nice!

The Making Of Pulse: Behind The Scenes Footage (41:01): It was weird, but this one started off playing four trailers of the film. (Strange since the extras have a trailer section already!) Then goes to on set stuff, with talks of performance and props, as well as some one on one interviews with Director Kurosawa thrown in between. This is very detailed, just as if you were standing right there on the set, but does all of this make for a good featurette? Yes and no. I liked the revealing tidbits the director dropped in interviews, but felt a little bored just standing around the set, waiting for something to happen. (And at a 41 minute running time, it shows!) That kind of stuff is for a film crew, not a film fan. This one comes to life only when its about the directors process.

Also included are a PULSE Trailer, as well as Previews for the films ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM, BUBBLE, THE WAR WITHIN, and A LEAGUE OF ORDINARY GENTLEMEN.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If youre looking for just a few weird and unsettling moments in your thriller, this is your main course. But if you want any sides with that, like a cohesive story or really defined characters, youre going hungry. Creepy will only get you so far, but a story you can follow, will get you everywhere. (Including to the end!) As a title for this film, PULSE is an oxymoron.
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