Teruo Ishii's Black Line is the closest a Japanese film has ever been to watching a actual American film noir. A man chases a woman through the streets, stopping by a fortune teller to aid him finding her. He is escorted into a room, drugged, waking up to discover the woman's dead body. From there Black Line boils down to a dark detective story about drugs and prostitution that echos elements of the cynicism and expressionistic filmmaking of film noir. It has drugs, hit men, prostitutes, and murder, yet It never fully immersed me in the experience. Given this subject matter, the story itself should have been far more compelling than it actual is, which left me a little detached instead of engrossed. What does really stand out about Black Line is the stylistic cinematography. Teruo Ishii has crafted another beautiful looking film full of visual storytelling. The point of view that Ishii is able to give with composition choices is expressionistic filmmaking at its finest. While Teruo Ishii's Black Line is not nearly as sleazy or violent as most of his other work, it is a solid experience because of Ishii's directorial talent and supporting crew.
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