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Dead End Run

More an exercise in style than a feature film, cult helmer Sogo Ishii's mile-a-minute genre buster "Dead End Run" uses every editing trick in the book. Rapid cuts, loopy angles, bouncy cameras and quick dissolves make for initial knock-out visuals, and sudden shifts in expectation propel the viewer away from overload.

More an exercise in style than a feature film, cult helmer Sogo Ishii’s mile-a-minute genre buster “Dead End Run” uses every editing trick in the book. Rapid cuts, loopy angles, bouncy cameras and quick dissolves make for initial knock-out visuals, and sudden shifts in expectation propel the viewer away from overload, helping to keep the joyride amusing throughout the short running time. A surefire fest pleaser, pic would be a nifty DVD pairing with earlier “Electric Dragon 80,000 V.”

Three stories are linked by a wild chase into a dead-end alley, but Ishii varies the rhythms and juggles formulas, playing on his usual combo of experimental techniques with narrative tropes. First up is Yusuke Iseya and his hyper-mad run from an unknown assailant, stylistically leading from “Run Lola Run” into MGM musical mode as he meets an android who ecstatically sings her thanks for their encounter. Two more set-ups spiral feverishly into new surprises, but like the old canard about Chinese food, you’ll be wanting something more substantial in an hour. As always in Ishii’s work, the music perfectly matches the sense of delirium.

Dead End Run

Japan

  • Production: A Realproducts production. Produced by Yoshiya Nagasawa. Directed, written by Sogo Ishii.
  • Crew: Camera, (color, B&W) Inomoto Masami; editors, Ishii, Masaki Inoue; music, Hiroyuki Onogawa; production designer, Suzaka Fumiaki; costume designer, Michiko Kitamura; sound (Dolby), Tak Ogawa; choreographer, Hatayama Shinichi. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Main Program), Jan. 27, 2004. Running time: 58 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Yusuke Iseya, Masatoshi Nagase, Tadanobu Asano.