"The first rule of Red Jellyfish Club..." At its heart, this film is misanthropic. Nihilistic may be too extreme a term, but there are elements of that as well. The young 'droogs' in the latter part of the film are out of place, mostly because the Tyler Durden role in this film was actually another person. I'm not ashamed to admit that I rooted for the jellyfish more than for Nimura (who was silent at the end).
Despite the illogical characters ("how do u know it's poison if u never touched?" why would Nimura kill & Mamoru clairvoyant? "u said do your best so give me 10 million now" & such wire in prison...) and potato low-budget low-light scenes that hurt my eyes, I could faintly make out some outsourcing symbolism and unrooted despair that newer generations feel in a society of seemingly stalled progress.
Just couldn't get into this. I think the decision to use a low-fi cheap video look clashed with the artificiality of the story - needed the smooth sheen of high-tech. Characters all surface no substance. Possibly that was the point. I agree with Slant who wrote: "Kurosawa strains to find a parallel between Mamoru’s jellyfish and his characters’ disaffections". Too far a stretch for me to reach.
You might need to be a product of Japanese culture, or at least enamored of it, to get this film. Otherwise, good luck understanding what anybody's motivation is or what exactly is up with these people. Then, there's the "suspense" music cues, which would fit better in a Teletubbies episode. All very steadfastly anticonventional, but it doesn't work.
i adored the color palette, the sound design, the cinematography (especially the final shot of the film, wow), and how strange the visuals and plot elements got. they were all great. however, the plot unfolded so strangely and spontaneously with so many unforeseeable events happening and so many loose threads left hanging that i was very confused. is this my fault, or the film's?
Kurosawa's delightfully off-kilter sense of narrative momentum remains in Bright Future, but his disciplined mis-en-scene is missing. Experimenting with digital video replaces tightly composed static shots with an improvisational handheld feel. Kurosawa's metaphysical strangeness and sincere interest in human connection is always intriguing, but without his well-defined mis-en-scene Bright Future feels neutered.