Buckle in and prepare to surrender yourself to an exhilarating and wildly entertaining ride. Cult classic Mind Game is an explosion of unconstrained expression – gloriously colorful mages ricochet in rapid fire associations,like Masaaki Yuasa’s brain splattered onto the screen in all its goopy glory. Audiences will begin to grasp what they are in for early on as loser Nishi, too wimpy to try to save his childhood sweetheart from gangsters, is shot in the butt by a soccer-playing psychopath, projecting Nishi into the afterlife. In this limbo, God – shown as a series of rapidly changing characters – tells him to walk toward the light. But Nishi runs like hell in the other direction and returns to Earth a changed man, driven to live each moment to the fullest.
The film's title says it all — this is a head trip like no other. Combining a wide array of techniques from traditional hand-drawn animation to rotoscoping to collage, Yuasa creates a genre-bending adventure that cannot be described, only experienced. Though its circulation has been limited outside of Japan, the film has developed a passionate cult following, making this perfect for both anime and midnight audiences alike.
Directed by Masaaki Yuasa. 104 minutes. Japan. 2004. DCP.
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