Review of "Your Name."
Directed, Written, and Created by Makoto Shinkai
"Your Name." is, in a word, a journey. A journey into what will surely be the future of cinematography, as well as a journey on a grand emotional roller coaster.
Technically speaking, labeling this film a "masterpiece" is an insult by omission. Given that Shinkai is a master, anything he makes is obviously going to be a "masterpiece," but among silt there is gold, and among gold there may be diamonds. This movie is a diamond, easily the prettiest feature length film I've ever seen; more so than even fetishistic attempts to be just that such as Samsara.
Feats of the cinematography include impossibly vibrant and dynamic crowds, animation that is outstanding even among his other works-nay-ESPECIALLY among his other works, match cuts that would make Kubrick jealous, impeccable blocking, usage of the golden ratio in memory of Akira Kurosawa, domicile camera work reminiscent of Yasujiro Ozu (and Tokyo Story in particular), and ellipses reminiscent of the late Satoshi Kon. I'd also like to add that this film featured GENIUS uses of animation to do what I can only describe as Buster Keaton esque "impossible gags" and I am CERTAIN he must have spent many months studying the godfathers of cinema to have POSSIBLY seen the seeds for this type of genius cinematography.
Worthy of particular praise is the editing, and ESPECIALLY the sound design. Immediately, I was slammed by how immersive the atmosphere was. The music is so successfully integrated and the sound so visceral that you can't tell where your internal pace starts and where the score starts having its way with you. As the film progresses, the movie integrates full, soulful rock songs by the Radwimps (my favorite Jrock band, btw). Appearantly, Shinkai and the Radwimps worked together for more than 18 months as they constantly modified and worked on the audio of the film, as early back as letting the cuts and rythym of the storyboards dictate every aspect of the COMPLETELY ORIGINAL SCORE.
Make no mistake in correlating beauty and technical marvel with lack of emotional range, as this is Shinkais funniest film to date by A HUGE MARGIN, as well as the saddest, happiest, most dramatic, suspenseful, philosophical... this film is a superlative in every sense of the word.
Now, on the topic of the plot, it is not that I won't spoil the movie for you, it is that I genuinely cannot. Much like how Inception cannot truley be summarized, this film cannot truley be summarized. It contains complexity exceeding that which I thought truley impossible while maintaining any kind of narrative. And it not only maintains narrative, it DRAGS you nose first on the wildest emotional journey I've ever experienced. And it does so using an unprecedentedly real approach to subject matter too long fixtured to the perverse and otherwise absurd. I never thought the plot device he used was even capable of being used classily, but holy CRAP I was wrong.
The story is full of foreshadowing, "Iceburg effects", and such personal and visceral tradgedy the likes of which I've only seen described by Shakespeare.
The Wachowski's "Cloud Atlas" was a similar film to this one in a few regards (AND ONLY A FEW). Both have unprecedented scope, the likes of which are so human and so emotionally intimate that one would think the story doomed to the uncanny valley of unsympathetic characters. "Your Name." Succeeds where cloud atlas failed.
Layers of meta narrative and copious amounts of immersive shoehorning will glue you to your seat like an unblinking tear fountain.
Before the film, Shinkai said to the audience "I finished making this film 4 days ago" and I believe this absolutely. Not because the film felt rushed (because it didn't), but because I genuinely believe that there is nothing left he could have done to improve this movie in any way.
-40 minutes of my convention time compulsively writing this review
-The TOP of my reccomendation list
You get it all, Mr Shinkai. You earned it.