Toshiaki Toyoda does it again
ZombieTongue | Bay Area | 02/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"9 Souls is truly a beautiful film. The film is reminiscent of the director's previous Blue Spring, yet is much larger scale and is a much more mature and personal piece of art. This is what makes the film so touching and captivating. It blends humor and drama skillfully, weaving emotions of happiness, nostalgia, regret and sorrow throughout. This is done in a very effective manner and makes the film stronger because this makes its emotions truer to life. For this reason, it is easy for the audience to relate to the film and its characters. Overall, this is a truly wonderful and mesmerizing film. Artsmagic DVD has done an excellent job with the transfer and sound quality, so this is also a high quality DVD which does the film justice.
A work of art.
M. Boon | Wales, United Kingdom | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just finished watching 9 Souls just minutes ago and I must say this is an amazing movie, anybody who even remotely enjoyed Blue Spring's NEEDS to see this movie.
A Different Kind Of Spiritual Journey!
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many different MODERN types of films coming out of Japan today. Many viewers find these to be uninteresting, or maybe even a little bit pretentious. However, I like a lot of what I see in modern Japanese films. Some, in fact many, are not for everyone; but there are certain qualities that I like in much of modern Japanese cinema that I find lacking in most American films. Take for instance this film in question. I lent it to 10 friends, who like myself, love Japanese cinema. 5 liked the film, the other 5 did not. We basically all have the same tastes in common concerning are likes and dislikes in Japanese films. Therefore, while I found this film to be outstanding, as a word of caution, rent it first.
Quite frankly, I was not sure what to expect when I purchased this film when it was first released. I happen to buy a lot of Japanese films this way. Some are a hit, while others are a miss. This one was a 'grand-slam' to me. The film centers on 9 prisoners who have just escaped from prison. They are determined to find a stash of money hidden away by one of the inmates known as the 'counterfeit king.' Due to his unruly behavior, prior to the prison escape, he is left behind, as he has been taken away to solitary confinement. They are determined to find the stash of money that they believe will set them on their new path in life: Just one more chance, so the saying goes. But can they escape their own past deeds? Is there hope for redemption? Maybe, and maybe not. One views the run down neighborhoods and poverty in Japan that we in the west rarely see, or hear about.
As the films narrative proceeds in the begining, the viewer is given a little bit of slapstick comedy. Not too outlandish, just a bit of goofing off, and joy of these 9 escaped prisoners new-found freedom. But this is not meant to be a film without some retribution: as director Toshiaki Toyoda has driven a sharp divide right down the films center. What begins as a new life for these escaped prisoners, will eventually spiral into a dark abyss. The film gives the viewer great character development in the first half of the film. You get to know each of the characters: and they all give superb acting performances in their respective roles. Setting out together in their stolen red van, each of these characters meet up with their destiny: A destiny I might add that they themselves have chosen, for life is about choices. Right or wrong. As a warning, there is some violence and disturbing scenes in the film. However, I highly recommend the film."
Mixed results from a mixed message
orvuus | Birmingham, AL USA | 01/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While I love many modern Japanese (and other Asian) films, especially horror films, I did not care much for this one. The scene is set for us to know that each one of these nine souls is a violent and/or disturbed individual, with the sole exception of the doctor, and so the final path they take may not be so surprising. Without adding any spoilers, though, I must caution viewers that while the first half of the movie has many comic moments, the final half has many brutally violent and bloody scenes. While it makes perfect sense in the context of the movie, the overwhelming picture I would be given by the other reviews, including the lead review by Amazon, is that this is basically a comedy at heart. This movie is a tragedy in essence.
On that note it must be said, what is the message here? Sure, there need not be an overt message for a film to be enjoyable -- but it is evident that the director is attempting to convey a message of sorts. Unfortunately for me that weakens the film, because the comedic and warm moments of the story are shown to be a sort of mirage. Such moments will not last. Consequences to your actions are harsh, just like life.
The cinematography and music score are outstanding. I wanted very much to like the movie, but it's certainly not my cup of tea. If you enjoy the more violent modern movies, like those of Miike Takashi, you may like this one. If you prefer movies to be a little less so, as with those films by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, you may want to pass on this one."