Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 12th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2011
Director: Gakuryu (Sogo) Ishii
Writer: Maeda Shiro
Cast: Shota Sometani, Rin Takanashi, Konatsu Tanaka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Jun Murakami
DVD released: October 22nd, 2012
Approximate running time: 113 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £11.00
Synopsis: What starts off as an idyllic quickly turns deadly, when the students and faculty at Jinsai Medical University become inflicted with a mysterious disease that kills its victims instantly.
Isn’t Anyone Alive? was directed by Gakuryu (Sogo) Ishii, who’s other notable films include, Burst City, Angel Dust and Electric Dragon 80.000 V. The screenplay for Isn’t Anyone Alive? was adapted by Shirô Maeda from his own play of the same title.
If ever there was a film that takes the cake for misleading its audience with its first act, then that film would be Isn’t Anyone Alive?
What starts off as a melodrama about a young adults, who attending a college and how the choices they have made are about to drastically change their lives. Trust me, once this dramatic shift happens it won’t be subtle and even as things start to unravel into a chaotic mess that rarely, if ever makes sense. Any hope of trying to figuring out what has just happened is all but futile.
With that being said, from a production stand point there really is no area in which this film does not hold up really well or at times even excels. The film’s visuals are first rate, the film’s pacing moves along briskly enough that things never get to bogged down and the performances from the entire cast are actually very good, especially considering how hard the story at hand is to follow and in general make sense of.
When compared to Gakuryu (Sogo) Ishii’s other films, Isn’t Anyone Alive? is about as far removed from his past as a filmmaker as I have ever countered in all my years of watching cinema. And while that is not necessarily a bad thing, since it is always a good thing for a filmmaking to expand their horizons. Some fans of his previous films are sure to find this new journey a difficult road to traverse.
Third Window Films presents Isn’t Anyone Alive? in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves this films intended aspect ratio. The source used is in great shape, details look crisp, the image remains stable throughout and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Japanese and English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout. Also being that this is primarily a dialog driven film it should be noted that the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 7 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) and trailers for other titles also available from Third Window Films. Overall Isn’t Anyone Alive? gets a strong audio / video presentation from Third Window Films.