Paprika Satoshi Kon

Paprika Satoshi Kon
Watching anime is like eating a lot of chocolate: at first you enjoy the overwhelming sweet goodness and think the whole thing was a really great idea but by the end, your head is throbbing, your gut hurts and you curse the day you ever set eyes on the stuff. So it is with Paprika, whose surface nuttiness only serves to drive you crazy in the end.

The subject of the film is a device that allows psychiatrists to enter their patients’ dreams — who uses it, why they use it and specifically, what happens when the item is stolen by a terrorist who also happens to be one of its inventors. Needless to say, insanity reigns as people start snapping into REM sleep and nearly killing themselves in somnambulistic frenzies. It’s up to therapist Paprika, who turns out to be a figment of the imagination herself, to make things right.

There’s a lot of crazy dream imagery that’s very well done but after a while, it becomes repetitive and abrasive, and you want a little more. But the ideas in the movie are pretty thin and fairly trite — though the pictures set you up for some kind of visionary statement the dialogue and characters are one-dimensional and the matters discussed are the kind of non-issues that tend to clutter up most American pop.

After a while, the pictures carry no weight — they’re sort of promissory notes that nobody involved with the film had any intention of honouring. And so you watch as the colours flash, the noises blare and your head starts throbbing and gut hurting.

Director Satoshi Kon is so adept at visual button pushing that he thinks it’s all he has to do, and in so doing, he sabotages his images by making them so much white noise. (Mongrel Media)