3.8 Sugoi reflexive! Meta before meta became an annoying thing that filmmakers relied on to hide the fact that their material was lazy, soulless and derivative. The beautiful imagery and the out-of-time score (caught somewhere between the 80s and 90s) enchanted. I could easily imagine this showing on Moviedrome or Channel 4 (when it was good) at 2am on a Saturday night.
Most directors have tackled a semi-autobiographical work on the pitfalls of filmmaking, but only Oshii approached the subject as a bizarre murder-mystery with added elements of slapstick comedy, "bad" special effects and the genuine influence of Brecht! The result is one of the great works of auteur cinema; as playful, baffling and self-deprecating as von Trier's less abstract but no less "meta" The Boss of it All.
Mamoru Oshii: Extreme Mode. Every batshit idea he can think of is thrown into the screen in scattershot fashion and it's equal parts glorious and maddening. This weird, bitter pill of gonzo cinephilia turned avant-garde freakout is fortunately sweetened by absurd humor and gorgeous stylized photography from way back in 1992 when Oshii still knew how to film a set without making it look like a photoshopped nightmare.
I need to make a disclaimer; I never finished the film, I shut it off halfway through. It was a bit better than Spectacles, but not a whole lot. This is pretty much Oshii's most masturbatory work he's ever done. This film exists for no other reason than to be a soapbox for how much he loves film. I respect and sympathize with that sentiment, but I question why this wasn't made into a documentary instead?