Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ghost in the Shell

Movie Name: Ghost in the Shell
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Rupert Sanders
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Peter Ferdinando, Lasarus Ratuere, Danusia Samal, Anamaria Marinca, Tawanda Manyimo, Yutaka Izumihara
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer Here

Following his feature debut, "Snow White and the Huntsman", director Rupert Sanders is back, this time tackling the adaptation of a well known comic, which was already adapted to a successful manga film in 1995, "Ghost in the Shell" from director Mamoru Oshii. The film takes place in a distant future, where the border of what separates human and cybernetic has become quite faded. People have cybernetic enhancements performed on their bodies. In this society, there's a revolutionary presence, that takes shape under the guise of a cyborg, one that has a cybernetic body and a human brain. Under the title of Major, this resourceful agent works with a special police unit to tackle the most sophisticated criminals and terrorists, and as we find out, she's targeting the hacker by the name of Kuze. Kuze's targeting the company that created Major, and as the investigation probes deeper, she suddenly realizes that the story behind her existence isn't truthful and there's definitely more for her to uncover.
"Ghost in the Shell" is an interesting film, one that is influenced by the original manga film and also Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner". It's visually stunning and the visual effects on display are nothing short of fantastic, however it's a film that feels under-developed. The essence of the central character and its struggle to understand what is truly humane within her and who she is, could have added an extra dimension to the film. As it is, the film ends up being more of a procedural with some touches of what means to be human, and some considerations of how technology is permeating human life on a biological level. It would be interesting to see what a director such as David Cronenberg could do with this type of material, since he has handled stories of this nature before ("Videodrome" and "eXistenz" for instance). Rupert Sanders is more interested in illustrating and staying close to the manga, not providing much dimension to the supporting characters. Scarlett Johansson tries to keep a detached mechanical demeanor, but in the end it's Juliette Binoche who has the most memorable and humane performance. It's a deeply flawed film, but one that contains sufficient ideas that makes it a worthwhile watch.