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Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman

Total Film

November 2010

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A Fistful Of Dollars meets Sin City? Scott Pilgrim meets a Seijun Suzuki epic? Welcome to Bunraku, director Guy Moshe’s martial arts-western- noir-fantasy mash-up, which hands down wins the prize for mental-est movie of the year.

Unveiled at the Toronto Film Festival, Bunraku – named after a centuries-old form of Japanese puppet theatre – delighted an energised crowd of 1,500 whooping film nuts. It has to be said it sparked a few walk-outs as well, its deliberate artifice and insane genre-meshing (musicals, kung fu, comic books) proving too much for some.

Yes, the fourth wall is shattered in Moshe’s madly inventive film. But Buzz can safely say you won’t see more eye-popping imagination and balls-out brio on screen anytime soon. Think the Wachowskis on several tabs of acid… “I’ll take that,” Moshe chortles when Buzz delivers its appraisal. “This movie is a bouillabaisse. It’s for anyone who likes fresh and exciting things to be happening in cinema.”

The Israeli-born director rounded up a cool cast to populate his post-apocalyptic, gun-free universe. Josh Hartnett stars as The Drifter, an enigmatic loose cannon who bowls into a godforsaken town terrorised by Ron Perlman’s Nicola.

Hartnett stuck with Moshe’s film through thick and thin. The results, agrees the actor, “are insane. I’m still processing it, there’s so much there. I knew Guy would end up making something cool.”

More than the sum of its retina-scorching parts? Perhaps not. But with parts like this, Buzz can’t stop buzzing…

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