DIRECTED BY: Hiroyuki Imaishi
FEATURING: Amanda Winn Lee (voice), Jason Lee (voice)
PLOT: A man with a television for a head and a woman with mismatched eyes wake up with amnesia, are imprisoned on what’s left of the moon, lead a revolt, have a baby, and kill lots and lots of people.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: Dead Leaves moves so fast and makes so little sense that it’s almost the equivalent of putting an ultraviolent manga in a high-speed blender and trying to read it while the pieces swirl around. The plot is nearly incomprehensible, but somehow involves mutant clones and a psychedelic caterpillar. Weird? Hell yes. Recommended? Well, definitely not to epileptics. Even for older folks with a healthy neurobiology, the breakneck pacing is as likely to induce a headache as an adrenaline rush. It’s definitely one-of-a-kind, though, and as an experiment in compressing as much berserk and illogical anime flavor as possible into as short a running time as possible, it’s worth a look, and maybe even an eventual spot on the List.
COMMENTS: Dead Leaves really is something to behold. It seems to have been conceived, and composed, under the influence of an entirely new drug: amphetashrooms. The film is essentially one fifty-minute long chase fight/scene, with a very few timeouts to catch your breath. The female pink-eyed Pandy and TV-headed male Retro wake up, rob a bank, are imprisoned, break out, fire thousands of rounds of ammunition from weapons that conveniently appear when needed, and fight an ever-mutating horde of bad guys; Retro loses his head both literally and figuratively during the journey. The violence and gore are extreme, but so ridiculous—with characters spontaneously transforming into human arsenals and showers of spent yellow bullet casings flying so thick that they sometimes obscure the carnage—that it becomes almost non-representational. Animation styles change every few seconds (and sometimes even several times within a second), as the artists involved employ a variety of abstractions, split screens, shaky pans, replicate comic book panels complete Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: DEAD LEAVES (2004)