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Sky Crawlers Mini Review

As far as interesting plot constructs go, Sky Crawlers starts off on a good foot.  In an ambiguous world which carries shades of a bygone Europe, humans called “Kirudore” wage war against one another in the skies.  Their existence is one of perpetual adolescence – no one knows exactly why they do not age, just that they don’t – they exist to be used as pawns in battle.  In this setting, a young pilot, Yuichi, settles into his new home in an fighter pilot base, run by a strange woman named Kasanagi who herself seems to be one of the “Kildren”.  A mystery lingers around the previous pilot who Yuichi is replacing – both the circumstances of his death, as well as his connection to Kasanagi – whose interest shifts to Yuichi.

I may have enjoyed Sky Crawlers more as a short film, where its fundamentally detached message of transience – and the very well constructed atmosphere – I would have found more suitable.  The story, which is open to interpretation (I identify with those who see it as a metaphor for a generation of aimless, lost youth) certainly leaves a unique mark, but would have perhaps been more effective in a more concentrated medium where it could deliver a message than depart.  Instead, when scrutinized over the course of two hours, the backdrop of the film’s plot begins to feel a little contrived, dissolving some of the impact the more emotional moments could potentially have had.

However, what contributed more to that particular shortcoming is the lack of any real engagement with the characters.  Similar to the film’s treatment of its plot, the characters are explored in a detached manner, which preventing me from having any real investment in their eventual fates.  Characters and their dialogues tend to be rather emotionless and are kept at an arm’s length from the viewer, and with a lack of any real attachment, the passionate moments in the climax do not have the weight that they were apparently intended to, though the final resolution after the credits roll is an effective and thought-provoking touch.


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