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Vital (2004) (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

Asano Tadanobu (Actor) | Kino Hana (Actor) | Kunimura Jun (Actor) | Lily (Actor)
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Vital (2004) (DVD) (US Version)
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Product Title: Vital (2004) (DVD) (US Version) 死亡解剖 (2004) (DVD) (美國版) 死亡解剖 (2004) (DVD) (美国版) Vital (US Version) Vital (US Version)
Also known as: 生死攸關 生死攸关
Artist Name(s): Asano Tadanobu (Actor) | Kino Hana (Actor) | Kunimura Jun (Actor) | Lily (Actor) | Kishibe Ittoku (Actor) | Go Riju (Actor) | Kushida Kazuyoshi (Actor) 淺野忠信 (Actor) | 木野 花 (Actor) | 國村準 (Actor) | Lily (Actor) | 岸部一德 (Actor) | 利重剛 (Actor) | 串田和美 (Actor) 浅野忠信 (Actor) | 木野花 (Actor) | 国村准 (Actor) | Lily (Actor) | 岸部一德 (Actor) | Go Riju (Actor) | 串田和美 (Actor) 浅野忠信 (Actor) | 木野花 (Actor) | 國村隼 (Actor) | りりィ (Actor) | 岸部一徳 (Actor) | 利重剛 (Actor) | 串田和美 (Actor) Asano Tadanobu (Actor) | Kino Hana (Actor) | Kunimura Jun (Actor) | Lily (Actor) | Kishibe Ittoku (Actor) | Go Riju (Actor) | Kushida Kazuyoshi (Actor)
Director: Tsukamoto Shinya 塚本晉也 冢本晋也 塚本晋也 Tsukamoto Shinya
Release Date: 2006-01-24
UPC Code: 842498030134
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Color Information: Color
Sound Information: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Rating: R (MPAA)
Duration: 86 (mins)
Publisher: Tartan Video
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1023159206

Other Versions of "Vital (2004) (DVD) (US Version)"

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Vital (2004) (DVD) (US Version)"

March 10, 2008

This professional review refers to VITAL (Regular Edition) (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
It might have been easy to descend into a creepy, stomach churning genre film when the main narrative device of the story is a cadaver, but somehow that's exactly what Shinya Tsukamoto's 2004 film Vital isn't. Instead, and it sounds strange to say, it is something of a love story, a subtle, sedated ode to loss and the process of grieving, that is at times both vaguely discomforting and quietly beautiful.

In yet another solid performance of minimalist effort, Tadanobu Asano, as young medical student Hiroshi, wakes from a coma to discover he was involved in a horrific traffic accident, and that his girlfriend is dead. Already Tsukamoto is posing some thoughtful questions about how memory constructs us, how living is based on what we know of it having lived so far. Because Hiroshi can't remember anything, it's like he's dead himself, a disembodied impression in the world, a ghost trying to recall his place. In an effort to reconnect with his life, Hiroshi returns to the study he previously apparently abandoned, and shuffles through an isolated, tunnel-vision existence where the highlights of his day include the bizarre grinding of the lift doors in his apartment building and an obsessive fascination with anatomical drawings. Even the stunning, slightly damaged Ikumi (played by model Kiki) taking a bit of a stalker interest in him isn’t that big a blip on his psychological radar. Hiroshi's world, without any memories to connect him to it, is a surreal, ominous place.

So surreal and ominous in fact that you really do expect Hiroshi and his tentative grip on reality to start heading South in a nasty way at any point. The use of devices similar to those in Tsukamoto's other films - a distressed, multi-exposed camera over a grating soundscape, designed specifically to put the audience on edge - would indicate as much, but instead of trying to scare Tsukamoto applies them in a much more sophisticated manner. These overt cues become reflective codes, giving subtle, subconscious signs as to the character's mental state, to the breakthrough in his psychology lingering just below the surface. With a surprisingly deft touch, the director silently shakes the foundations of Hiroshi's - and therefore the viewer's - reality. No, the decaying paint on the wall is not moving, is not as biological in nature as it appears. Hiroshi is only imagining it. Perhaps.

It is this strange manipulation of the supposedly static which gives this film its tension. The striking contrasts between Hiroshi's wan reality and the liveliness and colour of the Afterlife, where he believes he is connecting with his dead girlfriend's soul, give the film its true meaning. Tsukamoto is dissecting loss in a manner very like the passionless surgeon, but he is not ignoring the less tangible, less logical aspects of death and grief. In bursts of colour and sound, in sweeping scenes of interpretative dance that might represent the dividing line between the known and the unknowable, or merely express the storm of emotions that the grieving experience, Tsukamoto shows Hiroshi slowly coming back to life. He shows it is no easy journey. Yet these scenes, following Hiroshi's discovery of the identity of the cadaver he is studying in class and the snapshots of returning memory, are some of the most affecting moments of the film. By casting an analytic eye on the physiological makeup of the human body, the potentially disturbing becomes somehow lovely in its mystery. It's quite a feat, to show the beauty inherent in something as simple and alien as a human cornea.

The only real criticism with Vital lies in the story's distance from the screen. There is something, despite the obvious emotion in Asano's acting and the excellent support cast, which remains aloof about this film. It is not as visceral as one might have anticipated, but neither has it the gut-wrenching impact of the deeply personal. Hiroshi's amnesia prevents the watcher from ever getting any closer than the borderline intellectualization of his situation and a faint sense of sympathy. Very much like Hiroshi's medical studies, Vital is a dissection of the process of grief, removed a little from being too painful but perhaps all the clearer for it.

7.5 Scenes at the Sea out of 10

by Deni Stoner - heroic-cinema.com

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