Reviews

Feb 17, 2015
Rqt (All reviews)
“When it comes down to it, I think the director doesn’t know everything about the movie. Everyone always thinks if you want to know something, talk to the director. I don’t think that’s true. I think the answer lies inside every single viewer.” - Mamoru Oshii

As cliche as it is, I’ll say it regardless: this movie is not for everyone. By the end you’ll most likely be calling your mother, asking her to hold you. Begging her to tell you everything’s going to be all right. Angel’s Egg is a 70 minute joyride through the enigmatic mind of Mamoru Oshii that has more Christian symbolism and allergies than one might care to see in their lifetime. On top of that, the movie is incredibly slow paced (not really a joyride is it...) and has the bare minimum amount of dialogue to keep the story progressing. Which might I add, calling it a story is either the greatest insult or greatest compliment to the film and is something each individual must answer themselves.

As mentioned above, each viewer will decide for themselves however deep or shallow the story and its message is. As such, I’m not going to analyze the story and its many symbols because while it may mean X to me, it most likely means A-Z for the next 25 people and this is where Oshii’s words speak volumes. It’s an interpretive story. However much (or however little) you want to search for the films meaning, you aren’t necessarily wrong. There is no conclusive answer. I consider it to be a surreal and highly thought provoking piece of interpretive art. But one man’s interpretive art is another man's garbage. It’s understandable why people don’t like the movie and why it failed when it was initially released. It is highly Christianic themed and is often considered as an interpretation of Oshii’s early life when he was studying to become a priest. With this in mind, the film may come off as pretentious and overbearing, but perhaps it is just a roundabout autobiography of Oshii’s early life. The true intentions of this piece will most likely never be known.

The story is meticulous, slow and every scene deliberate and full of detail. While on the surface it may not mean much, it may mean a great deal underneath in its ever so mystifying allegories. As such, the film requires a great deal of attention and open mindedness. The elongated scenes, to me are some of the most vivid cinematic experiences I've witnessed in any film. This technique will most likely make you remember these scenes, even long after the movie is over. Regardless of if you liked the scenes or not they contain a lot of meaning and detail. At the same time I can understand how they may deter viewers, adding to the list of why this movie isn't for everyone. Aside from these deliberate and almost painfully slow scenes, the film progresses slowly and the world and its characters are spectacularly developed as the movie progresses.

The characters are fantastic. Both the boy and the girl have a mysterious air to them and many questions are left unanswered about both them and their pasts. They don’t really understand who they are or why they’re here. The lack of answers doesn't detract from the film, in fact quite the opposite, their recondite nature draws the viewer in. The greatest strength of the characters is that their interactions are genuine and realistic. The girl is innocent and timid. She emanates warmth and even acts childish around the boy at some points adding a rather heartwarming feel to an overly bleak atmosphere.Their subtle gestures and actions are used masterfully in the stead of dialogue, creating a very unique experience.

The orchestral score serves to further encapsulate the dark atmosphere of the film and is often foreboding at times, creating a sense of suspense for the viewer. It is serene, emphasizing the beauty and fragility of this poor innocent girl whilst it is equally melancholic highlighting the dark undertones of the dystopian world. The score wholeheartedly compliments and dramatizes the film.

The art is nothing short of amazing. The attention to every minute detail in each individual frame and background is truly something to behold. Not only is the art visually rewarding to look at because of this, but the combination of its dark color palette and entrancing cityscapes, skeletons, machinery and everything in between goes above and beyond in staging such an eerie and mystifying atmosphere that consumes this dystopian world. The characters are equally well designed and given as much detail and attention as the scenery. Amano Yoshitaka’s art truly makes Angel’s Egg what it is.

Angel’s Egg presents its viewers with an obscure message, enveloped in equally obscure symbolism and allegories. It indubitably blurs the line between the understandable and the incomprehensible. And as such, what each individual takes from this movie is subjective and is no more right or wrong than the next person’s interpretation. As Oshii said, the answer lies inside every viewer. On that reason alone, this movie will certainly fall short for some, and it’s absolutely understandable. But perhaps solace should be taken in the coalescence of the film’s breathtaking art and its mesmerizing music score. Perhaps, above all else, Angel’s Egg is a paragon of visual art.

Thanks for taking the time to read.