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With: Koji Yakusho, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Ren Osugi, Yoriko Douguchi, Jun Fubuki
Written by: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Directed by: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 104
Date: 05/17/1999
IMDB

Charisma (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Forest for the Trees

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Unlike his Cure and Séance, Kiyoshi Kurosawa'sCharisma is not a stricthorror film. Nevertheless it contains several strange touches allfiltered through the director's unique sensibility. Charisma unfoldsalmost as if in a nightmare. A fatigued, disgraced detective (frequentKurosawa leading man Koji Yakusho) leaves the city and gets dropped offrandomly in the woods. Once there, he meets a handful of strange people,each of them obsessed by a bizarre tree. One man believes that the treemust live, even at the expense of the other trees around it, while alady scientist believes that the natural ecosystem must be restored. Ourdetective bounces back and forth between odd meetings and conversationswith a seemingly endless parade of weirdos. Kurosawa's quiet, observantdirection strikes a delicate tone somewhere between irony and poetry, aswhen, at the end of certain lengthy shots, trees suddenly and decisivelyfall to the ground. Though Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) never bothersto resolve any environmental arguments, he still somehow manages toleave Charisma off with a satisfying, almost refreshing, click.

DVD Details: Extras include an interview with Kurosawa, a making-of documentary, trailers for Charisma, Cure and Séance and a liner notes essay by Tom Mes (MidnightEye.com).

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