PAPRIKA
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

PAPRIKA is the latest anime from
writer-director Satoshi Kon. Adapted from the
futuristic sci-fi thriller about a laboratory that
is developing an experimental treatment for
psychiatric patients. The "DC MINI" allows a
doctor to enter into the dreams of another      
person with the idea of better identifying the
patient's problems.

The film opens with a set piece that jumps
from a circus setting to an homage to Tarzan
to a
film noir to a corridor where a detective is
investigating a murder. The patient is
Detective Konakawa (Akio Ohtsuka) who is
struggling with a particular difficult case.
Assisting him in his dreams is the title
character, a spunky, red-haired teenager who is
the alter ego for the older, buttoned down
doctor Atsuko Chiba (Megumi Hayashibara).

When she returns to the lab after her   
meeting with the policeman, Dr. Chiba learns
that one of the prototypes of the device is
missing. Soon, doctors and patients are saying
and doing crazy things because they are being
influenced by the "dream terrorist."

It is up to Dr. Chiba, the "DC MINI"'s creator,
the oversized Tokita (Toru Furuya) and the
elfin lab chief Torataro Shima (Katsunosuke
Hori) to track down the culprits and save the
day.

Kon utilizes the fluidity between the worlds to
create a mesmerizing and magical dreamscape
of images from a parade led by appliances to a
stoic doll to a large-scale robot. Eventually
there's a battle for the very   existence of
Tokyo that is breathtaking to see.
(In some ways, this movie is a companion
piece to Richard Linklater's lucid dreaming opus
WAKING LIFE only even stranger.)

PAPRIKA adds quite a dash of spice to the
anime genre and offers a fun ride. It may not
be on par with Kon's masterful
MILLENNIUM
ACTRESS
, but it definitely is worth checking
out.           
                                                                 
 
Rating:            B+
Running time:  90 mins.
An image from PAPRIKA

Photo credit: Sony Pictures Entertaiment