David Bowie regally embodies Major Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. The camp commander is obsessed with the mysterious blond stranger, while the British lieutenant colonel Lawrence tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between captor and prisoner…
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1983: Annus mirabilis for David Bowie. First Let's Dance, then this. The album is the greater achievement, sure, but how nice it is to have this visual record of the man, looking not unlike one of the "superhuman gods" that Col. Lawrence contends the Imperial Japanese long to become. In Captain Yanoi's strangled desire for Celliers Oshima reenacts the attraction/repulsion dynamic between post-Edo Japan and the West.
David Bowie+Ruyichi Sakamoto+Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano; it's hard not to love this film. This is a strange and hypnotically beautiful work, and I'm not really sure what to make of it. It plays out like fragments of dreams that don't quite add up to a whole, but rather a shattered portrait. This was probably the best introduction to Oshima, as well. A bit overlong, but fascinating none the less.
Stay with what you know; David Bowie beared this in mind. The rest of the cast (especially the non-Japanese actors) was not doing much better. Bad script, terrible dialogues, very slow development & almost no thrilling, no exciting element. Everything is very much predictable, unconvincing & overall heavily boring. "Furyo" is about clash of cultures, individuality vs community, but couldn't make it.
I happened to read a review of this before seeing it which said that it suffered from the disparity of acting styles between the Japanese and the Brits, but I can't agree. The acting styles fit their characters. David Bowie is probably the least impressive, but even he has moments and he's never terrible. Tom Conti is awesome, he and Takeshi made the movie. There are some interesting lighting choices on display.
This story of homosocial/erotic bonds between captors and POWs seems unique to the war and LGBT+ film genres. The story's melancholic beauty is enhanced throughout by the 10/10 score by Ryuichi Sakamoto who also stars. The camp feels very real and lived in. Bowie gives a great nuanced performance that avoids campy novelty. Takeshi Kitano from Battle Royale is surprisingly heartwarming. It's a bit long but still good.