Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ISN'T ANYONE ALIVE? (2011) review

Isn't Anyone Alive? (2011) d. Ishii, Gakuryu (Japan)

News of a mysterious train crash, where the conductor is suspected of having fallen asleep or died suddenly, reaches a medical college campus. And, as the clock ticks benignly by, students and individuals of all walks start randomly coughing, spasming…and dropping dead. An intriguing concept, but unfortunately, that’s the whole of the film and at 113 minutes, it’s far too long for its slender premise, intriguingly nihilistic though it might be. While we spend some time with characters (more with those that live longer, for obvious reasons), we never get to really know them at all, the mysterious plague is never sufficiently explained and the entire enterprise becomes a waiting game to see who will keel over next and whether they will say anything clever, amusing or insightful on the way down. Maybe the pointlessness of it all is director Ishii and screenwriter Shiro Maeda’s point, but its delivery proves undeniably monotonous.

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