Uzumaki (Spiral) (JP)

One of the main problems these days in the film industry is that many big studios spend way to much time on special effects, and not enough on script and good actors. Your eyes get a nice treat while your brain feel numb and stupid. Thats whats ingenious about Uzumaki, that it has no real narrative, with it’s amazing special effects and fantastic acting.

The director, Higuchinsky has earned a recognizable name as a noted music video director. In 1990 he earned the New Video Artist Award and was honored in both the Fukui International Youth Media Art Festival and 8th FOTOPICA International Video Exhibition. Uzumaki, Higuchinsky’s first feature film, was originally a Japanese Manga comic focused on the idea of spirals and vortexs. Uzumaki was filmed with a budget of less than $1 million and shot in two weeks. But what comes out of this small budget is astounding! Uzumaki creates emotion through visuals, not through dialogue. Treated with a majestic 1960’s color tone, and filled with sharp effects, Uzumaki is something very very special.

Even though Uzumaki is said to have no real story-line, there is something there, otherwise interest might be lost rapidly. The story is about this towns obsession with vortexs. Slowly, members of the community become infected by something that causes them to go widly insane over the spirals. The movie just progresses until it seems like there is no end.

Like I explained, the movie really is only about vortexs and about imagery, the story is mostly watching people go insane, which is a great laugh. But the imagery, oh the imagery, it’s so astounding and brilliant and captivating. Higuchinksky creates some of the most clever spirals and effects I’ve ever witnessed in a film. One of the things he does is a stop effect where he uses many still frames and puts them together in a spiral like fashion, what you get is an interesting depiction of motion, but in a spiral. He creates vortexs in the dirt as people are walking by and has children eating spiral shaped ice cream cones. Another cunning camera shot is how he makes everything in Uzumaki look like aspiral, or vortex. He looks from the ground up at trees, which surround the camera like a spiral, he has groups of people surround one person on the shape of a spiral, his directing is masterful! The effects used are beyond me for such an incredibly small budget film, I wonder how they accomplished what they did.

The acting was fitting for the roles played. There was no depth to the story,it was pretty much people acting peculiar and insane. If there;s a level for judging how well someone acts insane, I’d say they all did a good job. But like a say, this movie is all about the visuals.

If you can handle a movie with no real story, and a slow start, but filled with some spledid depictions, this could very well be a movie for you. The images that I posted with this review are just a taste of how much fun this movie is to watch. I couldnt wait to see what Higuchinsky was going to do next, and as the movie progresses it only gets better and better.

Official Score