I am normally very wary of any film that is the official entry for the Oscar's because it's more often than not a seemingly randomly chosen film that is okay but nothing special. Every year as the entries cross my in box I am always left to decide if I want to be disappointed or not. On the other hand GODDAMNED ASURA surprised me in the best sort of way. This is a film that is worthy of Oscar's notice simply because it's a great film. If Oscar were truly an awards show for the best films of the year it would be running for many awards.
While I love pretty much everything about this film, I am most thrilled with the screenplay. A tightly wound affair it takes it's time building characters and setting up the narrative threads. Everyone is well rounded and complex. There are layers to everything and everyone and I was half way into the film when I realized that I need to see the film a second or third time just to catch all the little nuances and details that Lou Yi-An put into every scene. Most American films are nowhere near as rich as this and yet they get all the notice.
The cast is first rate. Another recent example of the Academy needing an ensemble award, there was no point where the actor separated from their character, despite knowing I have seen their work in other films. They are so good as a group that I don't want to single anyone out.
GODDAMNED ASURA also doesn't really resolve many of the threads. Yes we know what happened and why, but the threads of people's lives, the threads of what happens next to everyone isn't settled. We are left to ponder everyone and everything that we have seen with the result that the film hangs with us as we ponder what happened after the final fade out.
I love this film to death. It kicked me in the gut and made me think about a lot of things that I am still trying to process.
One the best films I've seen this year, it's a film I am going to be pulling for to make it into the final group of Oscar films. It's also a film I don't want to see Hollywood to remake because they will only mess it up.