×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani?

Shinji Aoyama's "Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani?" reverberates with screeching sounds but can't find any emotional resonance. Jumbling futuristic plague drama, pic goes on aural attack mode so often that auds may wish a mute button was installed on their armrests. Beautifully rich lensing won't be enough to overcome "fests only" warning signs.

With:
With: Tadanobu Asano, Aoi Miyazaki, Okada Mariko, Masaya Nakahara, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Masahiro Toda.

A patience-testing parable more akin to the muddled “Desert Moon” than helmer’s acclaimed “Eureka,” Shinji Aoyama’s “Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani?” reverberates with screeching sounds but can’t find any emotional resonance. Jumbling futuristic plague drama with half-hearted detective tribute, pic goes on aural attack mode so often that auds may wish a mute button was installed on their armrests. Beautifully rich lensing in the service of a maddeningly elliptical tale won’t be enough to overcome “fests only” warning signs.

Late autumn, 2015: The world is in the grips of a mysterious virus, nicknamed the Lemming Syndrome because those infected develop a depression so strong they commit suicide. Musicians Mizui (the ubiquitous Tadanobu Asano) and Asuhara (Masaya Nakahara), of the post punk group Stepin Fetchit, may have found a way to alleviate the disease’s symptoms through dissonant sound.

Business exec Miyagi (Yasutaka Tsutsui), whose granddaughter Hana (Aoi Miyazaki) is suffering from the illness, hires detective Natsuishi (Masahiro Toda) to locate the two musicians in the hope they can at least temporarily stop her urge toward self-destruction. Climactic scene resembles nothing so much as a tedious music vid, with an equal amount of superficiality disguised as catharsis.

The cast, all memorable in other roles, makes little impression, but they’re not given much to work with. Strong suit is undoubtedly Masaki Tamra’s attractive visuals, from early scenes on a wind-swept beach to empty autumnal landscapes, but they’re put at the service of a weak script that fails to develop.

Even pic’s title, coming from Jesus’ words on the cross, carries more than a whiff of over-reaching pretension. Strong noises, performed by Asano and Nakahara, may help cure Lemming Syndrome, but could engender murderous thoughts among auds.

Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani?

Japan

Production: A Tokyo FM, VAP and Rumble Fish presentation of a Rumble Fish production. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Takenori Sento. Directed, written by Shinji Aoyama.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Masaki Tamra; music, Hiroyuki Nagashima; production designer, Takeshi Shimizu; set decorator, Yuichiro Endo; costume designer, Hisano Ogura; sound (DTS), Nobuyuki Kikuchi; associate producer, Kumi Sato. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 17, 2005. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: With: Tadanobu Asano, Aoi Miyazaki, Okada Mariko, Masaya Nakahara, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Masahiro Toda.

More Film

  • Halloween

    Movies Featured More Female Protagonists in 2018, But It's Not All Good News (Study)

    “Halloween,” “A Star is Born,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” made headlines for featuring strong roles for women, but even though the number of female film protagonists hit a high in 2018, the movie industry still offered its juiciest parts to men. At a time when Hollywood is under pressure to become more inclusive and is [...]

  • Colin Farrell Dumbo

    Colin Farrell To Star in Andrew Haigh's BBC Two Thriller 'The North Water'

    Colin Farrell is set to star in “The North Water,” the BBC Two thriller which will be directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (“Lean on Pete”). Based on Ian McGuire’s novel, the four-part series is being adapted by Haigh and produced by See-Saw Films for BBC Two. Set in the U.K. and in the [...]

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content