(director/writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa; screenwriter: adaptation of a stage play by Tomohiro Maekawa/Sachiko Tanaka; cinematographer: Akiko Ashizawa; editor: Koichi Takahashi; music: Yusuke Hayashi; cast: Masami Nagasawa (Narumi Kase), Ryuhei Matsuda (Shinji Kase), Yuri Tsunematsu (Akira Tachibana), Hiroki Hasegawa (Sakurai) , Mahiro Takasugi(Pastor); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Yuji Ishida, Naoto Fujimura, Yumi Arakawa, Tomomi Takashima; Super LTD; 2017-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

“A lively and unnerving but silly cerebral sci-fi alien invasion film to ponder in its strangeness.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Japanese e
xistentialist horror movie maven Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Tokyo Sonata”/”Pulse”) gives us a lively and unnerving but silly cerebral sci-fi alien invasion film to ponder in its strangeness. It’s adapted by Kurosawa and Sachiko Tanaka from a stage play by Tomohiro Maekawa.

Its plot involves three aliens sent to Earth to steal “concepts” from humans, so that the aliens can pool their findings, invade Earth, and destroy the human race.

The illustrator Narumi (Masami Nagasawa) and her estranged husband Shinji (Ryuhei Matsuda) are the central characters. One day, Shinji returns home after a long walk and is  a changed person–turning infantile. Narumi thinks this might give them a chance for a fresh start.

An alien-possessed teenage girl, Akira (Yuri Tsunematsu), has brutally killed her host family and is casually wandering around Tokyo when she meets the inquisitive journalist Sakurai (Hiroki Hasegawa), who accompanies her.

Amano (Mahiro Takasugi) is young man who approaches the journalist and asks him if he can tag along to acclimate himself to Earth and for the journalist to be his street guide in Tokyo.

Shinji, Amano and Akira are aliens who have taken up residence inside their human hosts. When they re-unite they will signal to their fellow aliens for the full-scale invasion to begin.

While walking, Amano and Sakurai engage in long-winded theoretical discussions, as Akira has occasional violent outbursts against those in the street.

It turns out to be a suspense-free film that only wants to ask what is
the meaning of the human condition and what will ensue if humans no longer exist with free will.

REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019       GRADE: B