Film Review // Paprika

Paprika, is a rather complicated and over plotted story that evolves around a new piece of technology, the DC Mini, an experimental therapy device that allows therapists to tune in to a patients dreams, the machine shows enormous promise until one goes missing, it is then clear how dangerous the machine can be making the line between reality and the dream world very thin.

A detective, Konakawa, is called in to investigate the scene by the chief, who happens to be an old friend. Konakawa has his own troubles already, mainly a recurring nightmare set in a circus where every performer and spectator looks like him and attacks him while caged, the whole dream looks like a series of typical films, Konakawa ends up swinging through a jungle on vines like Tarzan, struggling with a spy on a train much like a James Bond films, ending with a murder mystery in a long corridor that in reality he is yet to solve. The film constantly provokes the question of Where do the movies end and and dreams begin?

The film is full of visual delights, including a bizarrely creepy parade of inanimate objects including household appliances, toy frogs with drums, lucky golden cats and Japanese dolls. This is all playing on our own strange fantasies especially those opened up by the internet, pulling people away from the real world and towards another more dangerous one. The audience will never be disappointed from the massive street parades that are full of detailed characters and beautifully animated movements.

Within the hand drawn / 3D animation there is something overly creepy, it makes us uneasy about the fast change of our relationship between ourselves and machines. This anxiety however doesn't interfere with the love of watching Paprika, watching the character herself jump from scene to scene by glass or image on the wall or even through a tv and out of a camera lens. The film is filled with an intriguing tension and a dark side of the imagination. With the main story being about how dreams can be manipulated and be seen by others even while awake, its perfect for an animation, going between the dream world and reality is perfectly flawless.

The characters are fairly complex or not so standard, each character having a strange back story and issues of their own, at first you may challenge this by saying Dr.Chiba is a women who is classically the beautiful yet smart female lead, but the fact she and Paprika are one person, with very different personalities, Dr. Chiba is as strict as they come, very no-nonesense and her alter ego paprika is when she lets her hair down, changing into a feisty female, very carefree, bound by no one.

The character that drives the story though is detective Konakawa, he is a troubled man, as previously stated haunted by his past that he can't let go, this is what lead him to Paprika, trying to find the solution to his reoccurring nightmare. This is something that in reality people do tend to believe their dreams are a key to real problems in life.

The audience should sit back and just enjoy Paprika as a fun ride, trying not to question it too much, what people should take away from not only the film but the characters is that we shouldn't be afraid to be ourselves.

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