An engrossing, meticulously constructed, yet overlong drug odyssey into the mind of a DMT addict on a fateful night in Tokyo. The joys of this film need to be seen rather than discussed; right when the opening credits begin, you can deduce that the film is an audio/visual extravaganza that is not necessarily going to look or feel “normal” at any point during its 2 1/2 hour running time. It contains realistically drawn characters, scenarios, and dialogue, and feels hyper-immediate, yet never settles into a form of presentation that would streamline the narrative into something tangible. It forces you to absorb the film on its own terms, and for a good part of the running time, it did. However, even as unconventional as the narrative is, there does seem to be a point where things wrap up, and the film goes on for what seems like a complete other act discussing characters, situations, and events that have, at this point, outlasted their welcome. While there is plenty of this section of the film that I admired and, even, enjoyed, it conflicts with the momentum of the footage preceding it, and it deflates the overall poignancy of the piece with pretension and, at its most guilty, cliche and goofy absurdism. With that being said, the film remains an astoundingly evocative piece of work that rivals Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in terms of its presentation of being in the grasp of hallucinatory, mind-bending drugs.
Highly Recommended, despite its third-act troubles. This is a film that contains such powerful moments and imagery that I can recommend it, while acknowledging that it is completely okay to leave the film before it finishes. There is very little worth sticking around for (save for one, um, penetrating shot) that stands up with the best of what came before it. And it is fairly obvious at which point the turn I’m referring to begins, so my devout approval of this film only extends to all that comes before that particular point. Which is all brilliant.