The entire film is an oddly compelling and insanely stylized fever dream that left me completely dazed and fully perplexed, a rare and significant accomplishment.
Weird and full of wonder. Ninagawa's Diner is dark and outrageous, but the extremely colorful and bold direction give it a brighter appeal and a certain lightness you would not expect from a film like this. Ninagawa once again proves she is one of Japan's most talented active directors, a true delight.
Reportedly Ninagawa had wanted to adapt the xxxHolic manga for a long time, it's not difficult to see why. The setting and subject matter are perfect for Ninagawa's signature style, and she really made the best of it. This is maximalist entertainment pur sang, a true explosion of color and style. The sets and cinematography are insane, but that's what I've come to expect from Ninagawa. The score is pretty cool too, the performances are solid and the plot is interesting, though possibly a little too muddy for those expecting a simple fantasy flick. Ninagawa delivers yet again and is well on her way to establishing herself as one of my favorite directors of all time.
The good stuff
Sakuran is a cool film, if only because it gives you something worth looking at for its entire running time.
Interesting biopic on Osamu Dazai, one of Japan's famous writers. Like many of its peers, Ninagawa's film exploits the scandals around its central figure rather than laud its subject with praise and admiration, but that just makes things more interesting. Add the beautiful cinematography, a fine score and a superb cast and you have another winner.