Monday Movie: Goemon
Goemon is a master thief who lives like a rock star and robs from the rich to give to the poor. But his carefree existence looks set to end when he steals something the powers that be cannot allow to escape - something that threatens to drag Goemon back into a life he thought he'd escaped, and tear apart the recently united Japan.
Director Kazuaki Kiriya's second feature is just as difficult to recommend as his first. Goemon could uncharitably be described as a self-important melodrama filmed in front of a green screen, prizing style over substance and occasionally jumping gear into impossible bouts of computer-generated violence. And, you know what, I don't dispute that at all.
But give those of us who love Kiriya our due. His visuals are bold, imaginative, and utterly unreal; the costumes and props were clearly conceived in terms of pure cool-factor rather than practicality or historical accuracy; and the profoundly earnest script, combined with those dreamlike visuals, can actually be very affecting if you only give in to its trashy charms. I, for one, hope that if Kiriya does ever manage to tame his excess, it's not at the expense of his knack for highly stylised, extravagantly chimerical worlds.