Kamiyama (Kanata) and Morino (Rin) are two high school kids obsessed with death. When a serial killer comes to town leaving his young female victims with only one hand and sitting in public places, they instantly form a connection to each other as they try to follow the crimes. When Morino happens upon the killer's diary, they decide to try and get close to the killer...perhaps too close.
As I stated above, I certainly did not expect "Goth" to take the subtle character driven route to tell this story. That doesn't mean that director Takahashi doesn't execute it in a fantastic and deep manner. The two leads own the massively subtle script (which is based on a book/manga that's divided into short stories) and their often unapproachable characters with an artist's touch. The execution of this highly detail oriented tale and the strength of its leads definitely lifts the artistic balance of this film to a very high level. A level where my initial reactions to the film greatly differed from those after thinking about the film for a few hours and sitting on what I just witnessed.
|Not exactly the Scooby Doo team I imagined...
The larger issue that is presented by this stylistic choice for the film is the fact that it rarely feels like the film is going to go anywhere. The premise of the serial killer cooks the film off to a start where it ceases to really move all that much (beyond character work) until Morino finds the diary. Even then it feels as though the true plot of the film seems to be secondary to our character study. This makes for a film of significant slow burn, one where I found myself craving it to kick it up a notch to really push the audience there...and the film never really does. Even when the two discover the killer's identity and make their presences known to him/her (no spoilers here!), there seems to be a lack of urgency in the film's pacing. A price that leaves its ending almost too lackluster for my tastes.
"Goth" was a surprising path for a serial killer thriller film to take. It's focus on the leads' relationship and their psychological growth makes for a wonderful and artistic drama that hones in on its visual flair and subtle moments. It also makes for a somewhat boring thriller that rarely gives us the punch we so desperately need by the end of the film. Mostly for fans of good solid artistic thrillers...which we are here at Blood Brothers.
Written By Matt Reifschneider