Perfect Blue (1997)
Director: Satoshi Kon
When pop sensation Mima (Marlowe) quits her girl band to become an actress, her world as she knows it, crumbles like dry bread. Not only is she stalked by a psycho fan, but her bunny-hopping doppelganger keeps surfacing to bust chops, people around her drop like flies and her handle on reality slips out of control until she can’t discern between what’s real and what's not. Damn…and how was your freaking day?
"Who are you...?"--- Mima
Based on Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s best selling novel, "Perfect Blue" was initially supposed to be a live action film, but when the financing fell through, the brave creative soldiers behind the project decided to put their walnuts on the chopping block, and take a chance. They opted to tell their very adult tale using the “anime” format (able animation at that!) It just goes to show how bad luck can sometimes lead to an extremely positive alternate result. You in the mood for a severe mind-rape? You craving to be screwed with like you’ve never been screwed before? Well, "Perfect Blue" is the orgasmic lobotomy that you’ve been hunting for.
This challenging puzzle taught my noggin all kinds of arresting and boggling lessons with no lube in tow to ease the cerebral probing. High props goes out to Sadayuki Murai for his exceptional screenplay that not only thrilled the living daylights out of me with its taunt horror/thriller scenarios, but that also had something weighty to say. I’m talking about a gripping exploration of the status of celebrity and the demeaning games one has to play to keep a career going, the addressing of the invasive internet phenomenon, an absorbing study on the notion of “identity” and a look at the confusion that can come with the pressures of being an actress, especially if one’s foundation is rocky upstairs. Yep, we got a full meal on our hands and I dug into it like the glutton in "Se7en" ransacked that spaghetti!
Granted, this uber-psychological thriller did sport some familiar conventions within the sub-genre it was bulldozing, but luckily for us, they were communicated through a stellar execution that was often reminiscent of the greats. I spied with my ripped-out-of-its-socket right eye a strong dose of Polanski’s "Repulsion" through Mima’s enclosed and off-balanced disposition - a hefty serving of Dario Argento’s giallos with the stalker angle, the flamboyant gory kills, the brutal eroticism (all about that rape scene) and the engrossing whodunit - and the cherry on top, a slew of David Lynch-like surreal mind twirls where a back-handing play on reality was put out via a film within a film and Mima’s cracking mental state. All of the aforementioned elements unapologetically put me through a dizzying ringer and pleasantly exhausted my gray matter. YIPPEE! HURRAY!
I’ve heard some people say that the constant “is it real or isn’t it” game the flick played was frustrating. I, on the other fist, relished it where it took me through the “nightmare on toon street” the heroine was living firsthand. No complaints about that! The sole MINOR peeve I had with this class act was that the film’s dubbed English dialogue was, at times, cheesy. But I let that go as quickly as Kevin Costner started cheating on his wife when he made it big. So when all was and done, I could firmly say that "Perfect Blue" delivered its hot pie and then some and didn’t go flimsy on the toppings. It’s all there and in high quality doses! Yup, I just discovered one of my new favorite movies of all-time. Who am I? Who gives a chocolate fudge! See this movie now!
The blood flowed like that time of the month in this uncut version with thick plasma splashes here and there and vicious ice pick stabbings that put Catherine Tramell to shame. I loved that one stab through the eyeball. BOOYA! What a kicker!
I watched the dubbed version of this film and the overall English “voice acting" was decent, on the whole. Having said that, Mima’s delivery was a little too "bubbly" for my taste at times, and the seldom “off” translated line didn’t help some of the performances.
T & A
Mima shed it all and we get to see up North, down South and down below, basically the whole package in glorious doodle. And yes…she trims! Who knew? I respect that!
Ever wonder how Hitchcock or Argento’s visual aesthetics would translate in anime format? Well, stop the clock and seek out this film. Its toast was so buttered on both sides when it came to its polished images. Yum! The suspense was also infectious, the pace air tight, the angles slick and I particularly adored the mind-bending manner in which we transitioned from scene to scene. EXCEPTIONAL!
I grooved to the razor trippy score that boomed out of this film. We also get some pop tunes that fit within the narrative of the flick since Mima is, after all, a pop singer…or is she an actress…DUM DUM DUM!
What we got here, guys and dolls, is a one-stop shop for all that is top-notch horror/thriller. THANK YOU! "Perfect Blue" was, for me, as near to perfect as a film can be, from the involving narrative, the mental challenges it imposed upon me, the insane plot turns, the nail-biting tension, the unrestrained violence, heck, even the sweet TNA factor was covered. What else do you want? A pat on the forehead and a midget in your sock drawer? COME ON!! Seek it, buy it, watch it, love it and thank me in the morning with a brew in one hand and a loose feminine caboose over my lap. Now that’s perfect!
"Perfect Blue" won the B-Movie Award, the Best Asian Film award and the Fantasia Section Award.