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Real (2013) Review

Updated on September 6, 2017

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring: Takeru Satoh (Koichi Fujita), Haruka Ayase (Atsumi Kazu), Miki Nakatani (Eiko Aihara), Joe Odagiri (Sawano)

For much of this movie, it is what one would expect from Kiyoshi Kurosawa. In the past, he’s developed a reputation for directing some of the most philisophical horror movies since days of Cronenberg (Pulse for example). And this movie continues that trend. Only, in this case, the story downplays the horror aspect a little--but not completely. It does so for an interesting premise.

A man uses modern technology to be able to enter the dreams of his comatose wife. She’d previously tried to commit suicide, and he’s trying to discover (and hopefully fix) the trauma from her childhood. In the process, he’s hoping to wake her up since she’s been unconscious for a year. The horror begins here in the mind of someone with PTSD, continuing once he returns to the real world. This, no doubt, results in him questioning what’s real.

The above-mentioned plot was quite brilliant, at least until the end of my summary. It was very well-acted and especially well-shot. However, about three fifths of the way into the movie, there is a plot twist that seemed designed to increase both the emotional impact of the movie and its running time. Only, in doing so, the movie lost much of its intelligence from that point foward. In other words, the twist undermined the philisophical message of the film and it got worse from that point foward. The last fifteen minutes or so felt like something one would see Saturday night on SyFy. Yes, that means devolved into a cheesy monster movie from that point foward. It’s too bad, because otherwise the movie would have been pretty good.

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