Before We Vanish Screen 8 articles

Before We Vanish


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  • Given the stakes of the story—nothing less than humanity’s total annihilation—Before We Vanish is a surprisingly domestic, sweet-natured affair. It must rank as one of the least paranoid aliens-among-us movies ever made; in Kurosawa’s own filmography, it goes to show that for sheer strangeness, even extra-terrestrials can’t compete with trees or jellyfish.

  • Yes, it's the peculiarly heartwarming tale of a man who becomes a better partner thanks to an alien invasion, but it also has an enormous body count and a dimly optimistic view of humanity. Still, you won't see anything else quite like it this year. The film not being a masterpiece is less important than knowing as I sat in a press conference that this film was offering me a set of pleasures I wouldn't get elsewhere.

  • The outrageous brashness of that wild opening may have been too tough an act to follow—it’s one of only two or three scenes in which you feel Kurosawa fully break free from the confines of his stagebound source. Nevertheless, one is always conscious that a master genre filmmaker still in command of his gifts is at the helm, and the many pleasures the film provides are testament to the fact.

  • It should surprise no one that the real "conception" in Before We Vanish…is love. That's the one thing that may be able to stop the aliens in their tracks, though it's to the credit of Kurosawa, who co-adapted the film with Sachiko Tanaka from a play by Tomohiro Maekawa, that he makes that theme resonate with real, aching poignance. And all while not skimping on the kind of comic/horrific apocalyptic visions... at which he excels.

  • This is Kurosawa's funniest work in years... Shot with a looseness that belies Kurosawa's usual rigor, Before We Vanish elicits a sense of comfort—the silliness of a film about putzy pod people luring you into a sense of complacency that makes the emotional impact hit as hard as that car that crashes into the truck. Kurosawa's films tend to unfurl at a stilted pace, with dreamy and deliberate torpor, but this one has a manic quality.

  • Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Before We Vanish” may be a sci-fi thriller about an alien attack and brain-drain à la “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but its ultimate message is the salvation of love. Playing frequently like an absurdist political satire with only flashes of violence, this low-tension, drawn-out work won’t gratify the chills or adrenaline rushes fanboys crave, but the ending strikes a romantic chord so pure that all but the most jaded cynics will be moved.

  • Leave it to Kiyoshi Kurosawa, our favorite director of B movies that look like art films (or are they the other way around?), to upturn the nostalgia for American blockbusters of the 1980s. Japan’s modern day Don Siegel or Robert Aldrich, who admires in equal parts Jean-Luc Godard and, based on his new film Before We Vanish, John Carpenter, does Super 8, Midnight Special and Stranger Things one better by jumping off from 30-year-old conventions and making a damn good film.

  • Alien body snatchers terrify a small Japanese community with in-depth conceptual discourse in this underpowered adaptation of a sci fi stage play. The sparks of dark humour within this awkwardly paced and overlong drama are not enough to sustain audience interest until the film’s laboured conclusion. There are shades of John Carpenter — albeit heavily sedated —but the film lacks the internal logic and allegorical potency required to break out much beyond its domestic audience.

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