Nine convicts escape from prison; most are convicted murders. They commandeer a van from a strip club. Their plan is to find a stash of counterfeit money that a deranged cell mate told them...
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A young man gets off the train in the morning and wanders the business districts aimlessly. He runs across some yakuza gangsters, whom he despises, and goes on a killing spree, but soon becomes involved with a subordinate gang.
Sugihara, born in Japan but with North Korean parents, falls in love with a Japanese girl after changing from a North Korean school to a Japanese school. His boxer dad teaches him boxing - skills used a lot.
Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and sends mail bombs to the CEOs of corporations and TV networks. One day, ... See full summary »
Nine convicts escape from prison; most are convicted murders. They commandeer a van from a strip club. Their plan is to find a stash of counterfeit money that a deranged cell mate told them about, divide it, then part ways. They make it to the site where the money is supposed to be hidden, and then one by one, each seeks out the place he wants to be, a version of home, somewhere to connect. Will it end well for any of them? Written by
'9 Souls' is a title that fits the movie's psychological slant very well. The plot revolves around a group of prison fugitives so the narrative touches upon the flight itself but there is more of device to explore the inner realities of the characters and how these relate to the world at large. This explains the moments of surreal oddity that interrupt the linear flow of events at pivotal points.
This aspect of introspective lyricism is steeped in several social contexts, some of which are typically Japanese like the yakuza orphan or the hikikomori. So that the movie never loses a sense of structure even as it progresses further into character study territory. And tragedy is at the heart of each of these criminals. True to its calling this movie is gritty, violent and has no qualms in disturbing the viewer. There is more to freedom than simply escaping from behind bars and reconnecting with life on the outside is fraught with difficulties that some simply cannot handle. A sense of dark fatalism seems to motivate these prisoners and their fanciful fantasies are but a result of this.
Its one great flaw is that the cast is somewhat bloated. Nine complex characters are bundled together and it is not easy to give them all the required screen time to flesh out properly so a few fall by the wayside. The same goes with the relationships between these but here the pair of a father who killed his son and of the young man who killed his father emerge naturally as counterparts of sorts. They form an uneasy bond that results in a somewhat perplexing ending.
'9 Souls' does not settle for illusions of regeneration but it does not deny a desire for betterment. Torn between this two extremes and enlivened by a great cast it is a movie that is off beat and intense. Well worth watching.
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