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Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Criterion) back to product details

Overlooked masterpiece
written by ColonelKong May 4, 2003 - 10:25 AM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
I think Mishima is possibly Paul Schrader's best directing effort (to be fair, I haven't seen everything he's directed) and that it's right up there with Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ (all written by Schrader for Martin Scorsese). This film is a bit of an oddity in that it's a Japanese film with a gaijin director that wasn't released in Japan, but that and it's too-strange-to-be-fiction story aren't the only thing that make it unlike any other movie I've seen. Much like the film's contradictory main character, the visuals frequently take a complete 180-degree turn, going from the documentary-style scenes of Mishima's last day, to B&W flashbacks, to wildy theatrical candy-colored visualizations of three of Mishima's novels. The excellent score by Philip Glass also contributes a great deal to the film.

I think Mishima is possibly the best movie about a cult leader (so to speak) that I've ever seen, and that Schrader does as good a job as anyone else could have of getting inside his head. I never hear anyone talk about the movie that much and I ended up kind of discovering it on my own, why it isn't discussed more often, I don't know. Overall, highly recommended whether you know anything about Yukio Mishima or not.


(Average 7.20)
100 Votes
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