Film Review: Dead Leaves

Updated on May 24, 2017

Summary:

Dead Leaves begins with two characters, Pandy and Retro, waking up in a desolate field with no clothes on. Pandy has a red spot on her eye, like a panda (if pandas had red spots.) Retro has an old TV for a head, kind of like that robot in FLCL. They wake up with nothing, and no memories of their pasts. They quickly go on a crime spree to steal things like clothes and necessities, get into a big goofy car chase, and end up in a dehumanizing prison.

For some reason, the pair remember exactly how to break out though, leading a daring prison escape with a mob of other prisoners. After that, it becomes Pandy's struggle against the deranged warden as she uncovers her and Retro's past.

Title:
Dead Leaves
Director
Hiroyuki Imaishi
Studio
Production I.G.
Run Time
52 minutes
Year
2004
Genres
Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy

One could describe Dead Leaves here. Alternately, one could simply resort to pegging Dead Leaves as an unholy bastard child of FLCL and Superjail! made after doing a rhino-sized dose of super-distilled crack cocaine and LSD.

Either way, things are gonna get weird.

— TV Tropes

Review:

This movie is short, quirky, and fast-paced. It's from a director who was also involved in Evangelion, Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt, FLCL, and Gurren Lagann, and so it's very similar to FLCL or Panty & Stocking in its style of humor. Which is to say, it's not for everyone. It's kind of an over-the-top parody of action movies.

It's fast-paced, and there are few pauses in the clownishly gory action sequences. The vulgarity and gore of some things in the beginning, along with the sheer nonsensical fuckery of the ending, and the fast pace, may put off some people. Personally, I liked this movie because it was unexpected and so weird. The plot was, as I said, a kind of parody of action movies, taking familiar movie tropes and pushing them past the point of total insanity. The characters had a cool, unique look to their design, again reminiscent of similar work on FLCL and Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt. I would describe this movie as a hot, enjoyable, lovable, little mess.

The main flaws with the film in my opinion are pacing and brevity. You rush through the main conflict of the film, which has a very short run time. You do care about what happens to the main characters, but we neither learn enough about them nor their world to really feel involved in the story in a meaningful way. It's great for people who've watched similar anime and liked it and wanted more, but it kind of suffers from the same problems as FLCL. Surreal comedy is not an easy way out of doing the necessary buildup to make the audience truly care about what's going on. For an example of surreal comedy done in a way that does also make the viewer more emotionally invested in the conflict, I would recommend Kill La Kill.

Rating for Dead Leaves: 6/10

Questions & Answers

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      • RachaelLefler profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachael Lefler 

        16 months ago from Illinois

        Those are all anime series, but yeah, I think you should like FLCL and Panty & Stocking if you liked this movie. :)

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        16 months ago from Houston, Texas

        I have not seen any of the films you referenced and from your review of this one I think I will not put it on my wish list of ones to see. Thanks. It definitely sounds quirky!

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