5 January 2002 | Manji
Slow Movie + Terrible Soundtrack = This Review
INUGAMI is an interesting yet drawn out film. Though there are many wonderful aspects to the film (location, cinematography, directing) they just don't save the film from many bouts of tedium. The most overdone aspect being the Tomie character. However, for those who do give this film a chance they will surely be treated to an above par thriller set in a quiet village virtually disconnected from the rest of the world. Here, not only does everyone know each other's name but they know their secrets as well. This concept alone is easily fun to play with and we are treated to it quite nicely as we (the viewer) learn the secrets of the village along with Akira (a school teacher, and outsider) who has just arrived in the town.
Personally, I felt the film should have omitted a few of the middle scenes of the movie involving Takanao. He had a certain mystique about him near the beginning, but with each additional scene involving him I felt a lack of interest growing. Also, I couldn't help but feel bored around every group meeting which took place in the film (of which, there are many). For some reason, it just didn't feel like they were getting anything accomplished asides from re-stating the basic purpose of the Bonomiya. These scenes were just so disinteresting, especially nearing the end.
Also, from a western point of view, the whole idea of loyalty to a certain job, no matter what the cost, seems trying at times. This is basically a problem most westerners have with many Asian films. The sense of honour and commitment seems to also be a foreign thing to North American audiences. I have watched other Asian films, less engaging than this one. While watching the other films, I found myself very interested and downright intrigued by the "honour" aspect. But here, in INUGAMI, honour is certainly not essential. Even morality is utterly useless as the depraved truth is revealed.
I really wanted to love this film, as I mentioned before there were good things going for it. However, I'm to conflicted by so many other things about the movie. This film is definitely not for everyone especially those who are attracted to the film due to it's underlying "horror" theme.
You don't see any ugly demons strolling the streets, you only see the ugliness of human beings who have steeped themselves in tradition and the past. The two things which have been responsible for the downfall of so many organizations, societies, and people.
Oh, and the music was rank!