Bright Future (2003)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Nov 12, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Kiyoshi Kurosawa fans expecting the deeply creepy chills of films like Cure and Pulse will be surprised by Bright Future. Working for the first time outside of the genre films that put him at the forefront of the Japanese New Wave of the 1990s, Kurosawa here creates a tale about two troubled young men with a very squishy metaphor at its center and few of the chills he usually delivers. The film starts out well. As soon as the jellyfish appears, in the care of the sinister Mamoru, it's clear that something weird and probably bad is going to happen. But after Mamoru commits his crime, the plot begins to fizzle, devolving into a muddled commentary on modern alienation. Normally a master of mise-en-scène, Kurosawa, shooting on video, gives this film a more immediate, rougher look that doesn't quite suit him. Even the spectacular image of hundreds of menacing, red jellyfish drifting through a canal lacks the punch of his more successful efforts. Bright Future is a noble attempt on Kurosawa's part to stretch himself beyond the bounds of genre, but in the end it falls flat.