Gakurya Ishii is the hugely respected Japanese director of works such as The Crazy Family and Angel Dust, and I had a high level of expectation for this film. I was not disappointed.
Isn’t Anyone Alive? tells the story of a range of fairly unconnected but very cool and trendy students, who are all inexplicably struck with a virus that seems to have no discrimination as to when it kills you. There is no way to avoid it or prevent yourself catching it, and the characters just muddle along, waiting to die. This premise is by no means new; epidemic films have been done before, of course, but the way is it filmed and performed is what makes this unique and occasionally hilarious viewing.
It should be rather a depressing plot but the characters deal with their impending doom in such a humorous way, debating things such as what their final words might be, or their annoyance that they have to listen to weird music as they die, that it’s actually not an upsetting film. Additionally, even as they die, I was frequently surprised by their continuing insecurities and a universal fear of dying alone.
It was also an excellent aspect of the plot that at times, you were blaming one of a few of the characters for causing these deaths – young Miki frequently expresses a wish to be alone and it is easy to suspect her of having a hidden ability to wish those around her dead, and the mysterious brother also had seems suspicious at one point.
Shot frequently through split screen or blocking and supported by a brilliantly appropriate soundtrack, Isn’t Anyone Alive? makes for gripping watching. The cast are all excellent without exception and I particularly loved the sweet friendship between Dr Fish and Yama. Highly recommended.
25 June, Cineworld, 20:30
26 June, Cineworld, 18:25
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