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Real: New York Film Festival 2013

Kiyoshi Kurosawa displayed an impressive gift for unreal dread in Cure (1997), a superb serial-killer thriller, and Pulse (2001), his millennial...

New York Film Festival 2013: Real

Kiyoshi Kurosawa displayed an impressive gift for unreal dread in Cure (1997), a superb serial-killer thriller, and Pulse (2001), his millennial masterpiece. That penchant is nowhere in evidence in this embarrassing psychodrama, set in a near future when people can communicate with coma victims via schlocky medical technology. The first half of the film plays like a less-sexy version of Flatliners, as forlorn Koichi (Takeru Satô) hopes to rouse his manga-artist wife out of a dream state. They traipse around their spotless Tokyo apartment having deep conversations; a sketch of a dinosaur gathers symbolic weight as a key to the mystery. Too bad Kurosawa actually wants to unleash his own Jurassic Park: The movie’s CGI-heavy endgame makes everything depressingly literal, as the characters cower like extras in a Godzilla sequel. The director, a valuable visionary, needs to get back to basics; skip this one and wait for better buzz. Click for showtimes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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