Perfect Blue ★★★★★

Darren Aronofsky whomst

Like a De Palma film that actually takes its characters and its aspirations to scare seriously, but what chiefly separates Satoshi Kon from De Palma here is that while both are brilliant technicians, De Palma only wants to dazzle; Kon wants to leave some scars.

Budget limitations force Satoshi Kon to distill a complex thriller to its bones; the result is 80-minutes of relentless, crystalline anxiety. Originally intended as a live action project before the budget cuts, the shift to animation only enhances the film's distressing ambiance—the otherworldly appearances of Mima's doppelganger, skipping through the air or hopping atop streetlights, wouldn't work half as well if executed as some shaky mid-90s visual effect.

Perfect Blue's greatest achievement, though, is that it is genuinely frightening, approaching even INLAND EMPIRE levels of nightmarishness (a film which bears many other striking similarities to this one); its third act reveal is one of the all-time great twists not just because it is so masterfully staged, but because it retains all of its impact on rewatch, complicating the film's power instead of capping it.

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