Angel Dust is a beautifully composed and serenely cool film it derives all its shocks quietly, not upfront in traditional thriller ways. There is no blood and butchery just the quiet, almost understated image of the victims keeling over as subway crowds clear. The confrontation with the ambiguous character at the centre of the story comes not in a subterranean jail cell where he is imprisoned but with Zen-like calm in a landscaped garden. On the minus side, the film only intermittently works as a thriller plot. It never fully hooks and drags one in with the chill, methodical unfolding of its twists, although there are certainly some unique spins it throws in there is a genuine surprise revelation about the heroines husbands identity, for instance.
Where it does work is in its descent along with the heroine Reis enigmatic insistence that the killer is inside her and her attempts to become exactly like the killer herself, eventually journeying down into her near-mental collapse. In Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster never underwent such a personal, traumatic association with the object of her inquiry. There are times the film swings striking metaphors in one scene, the heroines husband produces a DVD of Disneys Sleeping Beauty (1959), likening the syringe murders to Sleeping Beautys pricking her finger, and as we watch the heroine cuts her own finger and blood drips onto the sleeve of the video.
Angel Dust comes from Japanese director Ishii Sogo who has been credited by his given name Gakuryu Ishii since the 2000s. Ishiis other films of genre interest include:- Burst City (1982) set in an anarchic future; the cryptic end of the world film August in the Water (1995); Labyrinth of Dreams (1997) about a woman who is attracted to a man who may be a serial killer; Electric Dragon 80,000 V (2001) about someone with electrically charged super-powers; Isnt Anybody There? (2012) about a series of inexplicable deaths on a campus; The Flowers of Shanidar (2013) about a valuable medicinal flower that blooms on the chests of young women; and the ghost story Bitter Honey (2016).
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