2 August 2014 | alisonc-1
Enjoyable Near-Future Action Film
After witnessing the murder of her parents, Shiori Genpo sells her soul to a demon, Sebastian, in return for his help in avenging their deaths. Since only boys can inherit the large company her family owned, she quickly assumes the identity of a boy, Kiyoharu, pretending to be her father's illegitimate son, and grows up in the magnificent grounds of her family estate, aided by her now-butler, Sebastian, a rather clumsy maid and other household help; as Kiyoharu, she takes on the family title of Count and is the head of the family's toy business empire by the age of 17. But she has never given up her search for the killer of her parents. In her other role, as a "guard dog of the Queen" (who rules the Western world), she is investigating a series of mysterious deaths-by-sudden-mummification. With Sebastian's help, she narrows the search to an invitation-only night club, but when she herself receives such an invitation, more than her own life might be on the line....
This is apparently based on a famous manga, also called Black Butler, which has received a number of treatments in the past, but this is the first big-screen, big-budget version. I'm not familiar with the manga, so I can't say whether the film is faithful to its source material, but as a film, it stands up well on its own. There's lots of action (both martial arts style and gun play), some very funny moments and, at the end, a quite reasonable set-up for a sequel. I don't know how well it's done in Japan, but at Montreal's Fantasia Festival, it was definitely a crowd-pleaser!