Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse: Like That Tire Swing In The Back Yard
Here's the deal with Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 Pulse, just released here in NYC at the IFC Center: absolutly nothing makes any sense, which is both its cause for celebration and the reason for its demise. Its lack of logic preserves it from having some simplteon puzzle logic: the illogical is much more frightening. But, at the same time, Kurosawa does posit a semi-discernable plotline--and it plummets like so many characters' jaws when the ghosts come out to get them. Basically, it's a ghost story, with the internet somehow breaching our world and the afterlife--but how are the ghosts using the internet? Well, remember, this is 2001, and the internet is still portrayed as some program that, once you use a dial-up modem, random screens appear uncontrolably: it seems to have a logic all its own. In the end, Pluse is a little scary, but mainly its irritating, at once a conventional and enigmatic genre pic. It's sort of like a tire swing: its fun, but you don't really go anywhere, and after a while, you're just sick of it all.
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.