Bored and in desperate need of something to watch? In need of a new, exciting flick to feast your eyes upon? Well, the answer to your sorrows might be found in Adam Sherman’s upcoming thriller, She’s Just a Shadow. It is a gripping exploration into madness and existential dread and doesn’t shy away from the dark and bizarre. And it’s…well, it’s a lot, guys. A lot is going on. Don’t be surprised if you feel the need to rewind and do a double take after witnessing a particularity strange scene. I had to do just that at least three times.
There’s a little something for everyone in this blood-soaked film. We get intermingling tales of a beautiful Japanese madam and her ladies and a deranged, drug-addled Tokyo gangster and his crew. And in case there wasn’t enough going on, there’s also a sadistic serial killer on the loose. The intersection of these stories, and the interior world of the characters, plays out against a dreamlike backdrop of ultraviolence and orgiastic sex, as everyone tries futilely to rewrite their futures and cheat death. A modern and surreal take on the gangster genre, She’s Just a Shadow is the action-packed story of a matriarchal crime family engaged in a vicious gang war. A deranged killer is leaving his victims on railroad tracks all over Tokyo, and the only thing more dangerous than he is the vicious love triangle within the family itself.
I told you a lot was going on in this movie. Not that that’s a bad thing. For the sake of avoiding beating around the bush, I’ll just come out and say it: I enjoyed this movie. A lot. I can’t recall the last time I watched a film that was equally attractive and callous (except maybe Midsommar). Not for the faint hearted, She’s Just a Shadow isn’t afraid to dish out the brutality in it’s kill shots or the very intricate and cool fight scenes.
But the best part of the movie was, undoubtedly, the cinematography. Beautiful is honestly the only way to describe it. The use of color, as well as editing, among the seedy Tokyo underground is oddly complimentary. Especially towards the lolita-esque fashion some of the characters don. There’s this subtle artistry to it. Just like the artistry one might stumble upon in a contemporary art museum. The overall message could be subjective depending on who’s watching it and what kind of mood they are in.
If I needed to complain about absolutely anything it would be regarding our primary antagonist. The movie offers fans a pretty gruesome serial killer. Without giving too much away, I will disclose that this guy is a cop’s worst nightmare. He’s smart, hacker-level smart, bold enough to stalk potential prey on camera and ruthless with his kills. There’s some serious potential there. However I would have liked a bit more backstory thrown in there. Preferably in the form of creepy flashbacks because…I mean, who doesn’t love to get in the mind of a (fictitious) killer once in a while? It’s intriguing. In the worst possible way.
Trust me when I say, this movie is definitely worth a watch. Think Quentin Tarantino and John Waters getting together and trying to write a statement piece. It’s really good, guys. Please consider checking out She’s Just a Shadow. In theaters July 19th!
WICKED RATING: 8/10
Director(s): Adam Sherman
Writer(s): Adam Sherman
Stars: Tao Okamoto, Haruka Abe, Kihiro, Kentez Asaka
Release: July 19th
Studio/ Production Co: Breaking Glass Pictures
Length: 117 Minutes