Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 3rd, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Canada, September 12th, 1998
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto
Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto
Cast: Shinya Tsukamoto, Sujin Kim, Kirina Mano
DVD Released: February 22nd, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese
DVD Release: Artsmagic
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Goda (Shinya Tsukamoto) is a director of commercials whose girlfriend has just committed suicide. Wanting to know more about why his girlfriend’s suicide he becomes obsessed with obtaining a Smith and Wesson’s chief’s special. In his search for a fire arm he comes across a gang of thugs who end up beating him up and taking his money. His grip on reality deteriorates more with each failed attempt at obtaining a gun. Goda’s fate becomes intertwined with Chisato (Kirina Mano) a girl who is part of the group of thugs that rob him earlier. Will Goda find the answers he is looking for before his obsession consumes him?
Bullet Ballet grips its viewer immediately with its tale about love and loss that leads too an obsession that almost consumes Goda. His downward spiral has been meticulously mapped put through director’s Shinya Tsukamoto carefully composed compositions. The films luminous black & white photography it heightened by the films bleak locations. The hand held camera action gives the film a documentary look. The lead character Goda is by far and away the most compelling in the film. The streets thugs that appear through out left me feeling cold and the only other character besides Goda that shows any true growth was Chisato. This film is not so much about the characters and their back stories as it is about the chaos they create. Guns in their design and look are works of beauty that leave destruction in their wake. Director Shinya Tsukamoto never glorifies the violence depicted in film and by the end of the film every character has been affected in some way by the suicide of Goda’s girlfriend.
Bullet Ballet is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The black and white image remains solid through out with an exceptional amount of detail present in every frame. The source material used for this transfer is in excellent shape and this is Artsmagic’s best transfer to date.
The only audio option included for this release is the films original Japanese language track presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 that perfectly separates the dialog, music. There are no problems with distortion or hiss. English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Once you have finished watching the film Artsmagic have included some juicy extras that give more incite into the Shinya Tsukamoto and his films. Extras include an interview with Shinya Tsukamoto that runs about thirty five minutes in length in which we are able to hear from the director reminisce about making Bullet Ballet. The other main extra is an audio commentary by acclaimed writer Tom Mes. Who as usual offers a wealth of information about Bullet Ballet and the films of Shinya Tsukamoto. Other extras include bios & filmographies for some of the cast and crew. Rounding out the extras are some promotional material for the film and two trailers for the film.
Artsmagic have done an amazing job on this DVD that is sure to make fans of Bullet Ballet extremely happy. Overall Bullet Ballet is a visually stunning film that explores the affects of violence without making any apologies or excuses.