Sometimes, subpar movies can challenge our opinions and still manage to stick out. Such is the case for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish, a mid-level sci-fi flick with eccentric comedy, explosive action, and dry drama thrown into the mix.
To note that Kurosawa’s genre combo is unconventional would be addressing it lightly. However, I was fascinated with the filmmaker’s portrayal of aliens. There’s an art to deadpan acting that this film owns so well. Set before a supernatural takeover, disguised aliens are openly interested in the human race, making their interactions confusing considering they occupy soulless civilian bodies. Kurosawa skips the usual fish-out-of-water tropes or any prolonged realizations about interstellar identity, and instead works towards other unpredictable conflicts. Narratively and performance-wise, Before We Vanish is the act of spinning plates – skillfully maintaining balance and entertainment, and executing at the same pace.
Before We Vanish isn’t always interesting. The long runtime works against it, especially when the movie experiments with different tones, but there are unique details to Kurosawa’s film that should not be dismissed.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie