Angel Dust (1997)

August 29, 2003 • Film, Reviews

[director Sogo Ishii]

The undiscovered gem of 90s world cinema. Angel Dust is a hallucinatory mind-trip that announced formerly proto-punk director Sogo Ishii as the most artful of pop filmmakers. Angel Dust is a disconcerting experience, a film about mind control that almost seems to be exercising a form of hypnotic suggestion as it runs. The movie, about a profiler tracing a serial-killer who just may be her ex-boyfriend, has a very complete look and feel, and throughout the film Ishii exercises control over all visual, auditory, and sensory aspects of the film, manipulating sound and music, images and editing, everything down to performance style, to set a unique mood and feel for the movie that is uncomfortable and frightening.

Especially memorable are the fascinating, subtle ending and a sequence in which the profiler realizes that in profiling the killer, she has developed the killer’s colorblindness. The ending is disconcerting in the extreme, and subtle beyond the ending of any contemporary film. Watch it with someone you love, at midnight–it’s a scary, mindbending trip, better taken with company. It’s also one of the most impressive “cool” movies of recent years.

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