Warning: Trailer is not NSFW
Who are you? That ubiquitous question is everywhere in our lives. Are we the joker, the slacker, the jock, the nerd, the hipster, or are we even any of those things? Does it even matter what we think? Maybe the people around us know more about who we are than we do ourselves. With these questions in mind Perfect Blue takes us on a journey. Not a literal journey, but a journey within a certain Mima Kirigoe.
The film begins this journey right after Mima decides to quit her job as a singer. She has been a singer with a group called “CHAM!” for a couple years with no real success. After deciding that she has no future as a singer, she starts a new career as an actress and quit “CHAM!”. This shift in her career makes quite a few ripples in her life. Her fans are angry and want her back as a singer, she’s afraid someone is stalking her, there is enormous pressure on her to succeed as an actress, and to make matters worse the TV show she’s acting in wants her to do a horrifying rape scene.
Mima is so confused and scared that she doesn’t know anything about herself anymore. She has been split in two. There’s Mima the pop singer and there’s Mima the actress. Everyone has their own idea of which one she is, but she is at a complete loss, thrown into confusion by the various pressures around her. She finds a website online called Mima’s Room, an insanely detailed blog that writes about her daily life as Mima. The Mima found in this blog hates acting and rejects everything the real Mima is doing. Mima’s strained metal state leads her to believe that this version of her might just be the real Mima. Maybe the person writing Mima’s Room knows more about her than she does. She is left disoriented and unable to tell which one is real and which one is fake.
The way Perfect Blue captures that internal struggle is the key to its success. Satoshi Kon gives us an eye into Mima’s mind. Everything she goes through we go through. From the trauma of acting in a brutal rape scene to the self-doubt and total confusion that Mima feels throughout the film. By using disorienting cuts, dream sequences, and constant red herrings, the audience never gets a full grasp of what’s going on. Satoshi Kon keeps us as paranoid and in the dark as Mima is throughout the film.
There are few films that I feel so utterly taken over by. Where the movie ends and I find myself questioning everything around me. I just have to walk around and just think. Think about what I had gone through and what it meant. This movie did that for me. I left this place and entered another entirely. I entered Mima’s head and had come back with something. I can’t say that happens very often. Sure, I see a lot of great movies and some even move me, but I can’t say they ever take me where Perfect Blue took me. In an age where everyone seems to be racing for the most shocking thing they can think of, something that can make you ask yourself questions and leave you with something is truly precious.
Rating: 5 out of 5
PS: I would recommend watching this movie in the original japanese with subtitles. There is a dub but it isn’t very good.