Using his signature directorial flair, Miike captures a world with neon-soaked nights and magnolia-streamed days - the visual aesthetics of Ai To Makoto are breathtaking in their stark and beautiful contrasts. At times the film feels as urban and dangerous as Audition, whilst at points it's as delicate and hopelessly gorgeous as, say, a live-action Studio Ghibli feature.
But this being Miike means there is no room for compromise or comfort; constantly the film shocks with its lashings of violence, taunts with its manipulative characterisation and chills with its relentlessly surging dark energy. One would say Ai To Makoto is a work of sheer visceral beauty.
. . .
At 134 minutes, Ai To Makoto is not a short sitting, but it's a greatly rewarding, supremely intelligent and undeniably gripping romantic thriller. Plus, it has a surprising amount of laughs along the way and a few musical moments which keep things feeling fresh and unexpected. It's undoubtedly good enough to be competing for the Palme d'Or and it's a real shame it missed the ballot.
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