Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Rotterdam Review: Takashi Miike's 'Ace Attorney' A Stylish, Bizarre Video Game Adaptation & Legal Satire

The Playlist By Brandon Harris | The Playlist February 3, 2012 at 12:03PM

Takashi Miike made his first big international splash in Rotterdam, with "Audition" in 2000, and then began a run of productivity that few filmmakers, even famously prolific ones, can match. This is the man who made "Visitor Q," "Ichi the Killer" and "The Happiness of the Katakuris" in the same year. Even crazier, that was less than half of his output in 2001, a year in which he made seven feature films. He made fifteen movies in all between 2001 and 2003, including "Gozu," which savvy critics rightly acknowledge is his best film. Perhaps Miike has mellowed in recent years. He’s only been making two or three films anually for the past half decade.
2

Ace Attorney Poster
Takashi Miike made his first big international splash in Rotterdam, with "Audition" in 2000, and then began a run of productivity that few filmmakers, even famously prolific ones, can match. This is the man who made "Visitor Q," "Ichi the Killer" and "The Happiness of the Katakuris" in the same year. Even crazier, that was less than half of his output in 2001, a year in which he made seven feature films. He made fifteen movies in all between 2001 and 2003, including "Gozu," which savvy critics rightly acknowledge is his best film. Perhaps Miike has mellowed in recent years. He’s only been making two or three films anually for the past half decade.

Maybe he should work less. His latest film, “Ace Attorney," which made its world premiere here in Rotterdam, bringing him back to the site of his earliest international acclaim, is a combination bizarre, oddly satisfying video game adaptation and otherworldly legal satire. It’s consistently stylish, frequently corny and always watchable, even as its inspired passages flame out long before its 130 minute plus running time comes to a close; like much of Miike’s big budget work, it is significantly overlong, with flights of fancy that wear thin rather quickly. It provides the most stirring example yet of a filmmaker in full bloom who is perhaps over indulged by his opportunities to make films, whose craft and wit are unsurpassed but whose reputation allows him to work without the limitations that might make his movies more vital and economically structured.

Ace Attorney

Not to say that "Ace Attorney," made in close collaboration with game producer Capcom, is without ambition; it tells a tremendously complicated story and does so with flair and kineticism. 

In a Japan of the future, within which the film and games are set, criminal law has become the equivalent of a two player platform fighting game. Crime has risen to such extremes that all court cases only last three days (a process referred to as “turnabout law”), in which the defense and prosecution duel it out in a manner that amps up revelations and tones down nuance and, well, anything boring or arcane about the legal process.

Miike’s film centers on Phoenix Wright, who becomes embroiled in the first high-profile case of his career when his boss is found murdered and a seemingly innocent female bystander is booked with the charge. The prosecutor, an unnaturally gray haired, long time rival of Wright’s whose father is the longest-standing and most well-regarded prosecutor in Japan, challenges him in a series of trials that slowly reveal the endemic corruption of the Japanese legal system.

Ace Attorney

The film provides more than its fair share of unintentional laughs because of its outlandishness (the confetti that drops from the rafters after a trial, as if the Super Bowl had been completed, is a nice touch) and its occasional earnestness isn’t all for naught. Yet even as it positions itself as Miike’s most accessible and mainstream film yet, it still tells a relatively trite tale in a manner that intentionally won’t challenge or provoke its video game obsessed devotees, but just embolden their persistent aesthetic of overstimulation. I think we’ll be seeing Miike direct episodes of G4’s Tekken TV show any day now. [C+]

This article is related to: Takashi Miike, Rotterdam 2012 Reviews, Ace Attorney


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates