My Reel of the week is 2010's BUNRAKU. My daughter who is a fan of the J-rock singer & actor Gackt, promised me his performance in this film was much better than his performance in 2003's MoonChild. I have to say, for the most part she is correct.
After a Worldwide war, guns have been outlawed & blades & fists are the law of the land.
A Drifter (Josh Hartnett) wanders into town with a score to settle. Through the local bartender (Woody Harrelson) he meets Yoshi (Gackt), man on a mission to avenge his father and take back the talisman stolen from his family by the killer and self appointed ruler of the town, Nicola the Ruthless, played to smarmy, evil perfection by character actor Ron Perlman.
Yoshi & The Drifter find themselves joining forces to end Nicola's reign. The only person standing in their way is Killer#2. Nicola's evil right hand , maniacal,song & dance man , played fantastically and dare I say handsomely by Kevin Mckidd.
They must put aside their differences in order to break the heavy yoke of injustice each one carries.
BUNRAKU is a form of Japanese puppetry. The way in which this movie was filmed, relays that to the audience in an abstract way. The set is minimal. atmosphere is conveyed with lighting & shadows, also no actual outdoor scenes. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the style of filming, but it worked. It was a strange combination of graphic novel, theater & shadow puppetry.
Demi Moore has a small role, but she pretty much phoned it in. It was forgettable. A lackluster performance and thank god, brief.
Josh Hartnett was surprisingly good. I have to say I was not expecting it.
Gackt redeemed himself after that horrific MoonChild, but still has a way to go.
For the most part, I really enjoyed BUNRAKU. It was fun, smart, albeit gory, but that was expected. It was a theater version of a graphic novel brought to life, and THAT was unexpected.