Casshern is a heavily CGI treated live action film that is visually striking. Too often, though, the images are very familiar from past science-fiction films, and some of the symbolism is heavy handed. This film made me think I was watching a live action anime, which is neither good or bad. First-time film director Kazuaki Kiriya has an undeniable gift for visuals. From the luscious green trees of the “forest” to the industrial wasteland, each backdrop is brought to life with elegance and beauty. However, at the same time it can become exhausting.
The story follows Dr. Azuma who has the solution to many of lifes worldly problems. When his proposed neo-cell technology is turned down by the medical board, a businessman for the military quickly springs in and offers the doctor an oppurtunity of a lifetime. With his facility operating a secret, Azuma’s dream of finally finding the cure for his ailing wife can be realized. All seemed well until a freak accident rocked the laboratory. The scattered human body parts that were once deemed unusable, somehow found a way to merge together and bring life. With these unexpected bastard children of the experiment, the government is called in to kill these accidents. At the same time this chaos ensues, Azuma is informed that his headstrong song, Tetsuya, was killed in the war. To make matters worse, a select few of the bastard children manage to escape and at the same time, kidnap his wife.
At first viewing I was a little disappointed, but when I finally came to terms with what this film really was, I found myself more willing to accept it. Upon my 2nd viewing, I fell in love with the film’s mythology.
It’s almost as if first-time feature filmmaker Kazuaki Kiriya thought he was only ever going to get one shot at making a movie, and then proceeded to cram as many different ideas into it as he could. The most exciting aspect is this is only the first film from Kazuaki Kiriya. Hopefully Kiriya will learn from his flaws in Casshern and slowly perfect his craft in the years to come. Casshern is definitely worth a watch, but proceed with caution! If you can get over the disappointment that this is not an action film, then you will be treated to a good piece of cinema. Slight Recommendation.