Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 17, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Bright Future

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
92 minutes
Limited Release Date
11/12/04
performer
Tadanobu Asano, Joe Odagirl
director
Kiyoshi Kurosawa
distributor
Palm

We gave it a B+

Horror movies don’t have to go ”Boo” to do their work. In the weirdly haunting drama Bright Future, the notable new- wave Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa leaves behind the creepy-cool genre details that have distinguished his art-pulp thrillers, including Cure and Charisma. Now Kurosawa is more interested in cool ”everyday” details of a futuristic present in which a couple of angry, alienated Japanese twentysomething men bond (if that’s not too squishy a term) in shared anger and alienation. Both of them work in a hand-towel factory, one (Tadanobu Asano) owns a glowing, poisonous jellyfish he keeps in a tank, and when violence leads to a jail sentence, his friend (Joe Odagiri) takes over the creature’s care.

It’s strange to say that one thing leads to another in such a stubbornly disorienting, apocalyptic tale (there’s the part where the jellyfish makes a break for it, becoming a new-style monster). But the most spellbinding aspect of Bright Future is that the surrealism sustains its own squiddish logic, concluding with one of the most breathtaking film finales of the year.

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