Gemini (1999)

Genres - Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Horror, Crime Drama, Crime Thriller, Film Noir, Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Perhaps the most mature and accomplished film to date for the ever-unpredictable Shinya Tsukamoto, Gemini is a hauntingly low-key voyage into the dark realm of identity loss and lost love. Moving ever more away from the frenetic camera work that defined his early breakthrough features, Tsukamoto here goes for a more refined, quiet terror that proves as effective at building a sense of impending dread as his earlier works were at shocking audiences with audacious abandon. Though die-hard Tetsuo: The Iron Man fans may at first be dismayed at the somber tone struck early on, the opening images and story trajectory prove that, even if Gemini isn't as seductively manic as Tsukamoto's previous films, it still contains the same, if not more, horrific energy. With a hypnotic tone and visual scheme that lulls viewers into a chilled trance, the well-timed outbursts of nightmarish imagery give the impression of a waking nightmare captured on celluloid. With cold, stark compositions that invoke memories of Stanley Kubrick, Gemini consistently maintains its dormant menace throughout as Chu Ishikawa's low-key score delivers appropriate chills while avoiding the "jump cues" familiarly associated with the genre. Combine these two highly effective methods with a cultural critique of the internal void brought on by wealth and the result is a visually rich and viscerally terrifying film that will no doubt send chills down the spine of even the most jaded of horror fans.