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Dead Leaves | review | dvd | Lollipop
by Eric Chon
Never let it be said that Production IG are not imaginative. From Blood to Jin-Roh to Kai Doh Maru, they've excelled at creating some of the most amazing and colorful visuals ever to grace the screen. They've brought the works of Masamune Shirow to life like no other (Ghost in the Shell) and were the only ones capable of capturing the feel of FLCL. I'd hate to see anyone else even attempt that series. But they must also do a fuck-ton of LSD. One look at the cover cements it: One characters's head is a television set (face on the screen and everything).
Our 50-minute fever dream begins when super-hot badass Pandy (she has a large spot around her eye, making her look like a deranged, unstable Panda) and her pal Retro (that's the TV-headed guy) wake up naked right outside a city. Their first thought? Let's kill people, take their clothes and their car, and cause general mayhem. But now they've got the pigs on their trail, what're they gonna do? Kill some more! Ultimately, they get caught and that's how they end up on the moon-prison, Dead Leaves.
From there, it gets crazy. And when I say crazy, I mean flashing-lights, strobing-colors, drill-penis crazy! Exploding pipes of shit, accidental buggery, people who transform into living arsenals, and a guy named Chinko who has a gigantic drill for a cock. What the fuck, dude?? It really makes no sense, and it never attempts to. Rather, Dead Leaves is the canvas on which director Hitoyuki Imaishi paints his twisted and warped vision.
Here, style dominates over substance, and Dead Leaves bleeds with it. Camera angles twist and turn to catch the action, all of which is at breakneck pace. Shapes distort and stretch with reckless abandon with the screen often splitting into irregular shapes, much like some totally balls-out comic book. In his commentary, the director himself recommends you watch this drunk, and I totally agree. An approximate feeling might be smashing your head repeatedly with a Technicolor-baseball bat while a strobe-light goes off right in your goddamn eye. In a good way...
I can't say I'd watch this a lot as it just fucks with my brain too much, but if you dig on spastic, whacked-out ultra violence and are not easily offended, Dead Leaves is for you. It's a visual triumph and should be seen at least once. Quite literally, it's an animated kick in the crotch.