Godzilla Minus One
Starring Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe and Hidetaka Yoshioka
Godzilla Minus One is an outstanding new film for the undisputed King of the Monsters.
Weakened after World War 2, post-war Japan must deal with a new threat – the monster Godzilla.
Where the original 1954 Godzilla was an anti-nuclear allegory and a stark horror film, Godzilla Minus One is both a potent, moving anti-war allegory and a thrilling disaster-action movie.
Koichi (Ryunosuke Kamiki), the former pilot protagonist, leads a superbly-paced, often heartbreaking narrative about grief, survivor guilt, PTSD and how war cheapens human life. With the trauma of the war and Godzilla’s onslaught inextricably linked, Koichi is torn between hope with his partner Noriko (Minami Hamabe) and adoped daughter Akiko (Sae Nagatani) and a fatalistic need to avenge his comrades and end the war for himself. The anti-war themes are prominent without being heavy-handed, and Minus One knows how to have fun, with Hidetaka Yoshioka as an egghead scientist type, Yuki Yamada as a plucky young man desperate to prove himself and a weird (but logical) plan to defeat Godzilla, while keeping the tension and dread high.
Featuring mindblowing destruction and a clear sense of scale and human victims, the action sequences hold a terrifying grandeur, and Godzilla is scarier, more agile and expressive than ever.
Hollywood should take notes from director Takashi Yamazaki: Minus One looks amazing and cost the equivalent of $15 million, which is pocket-change for American blockbusters.
Masterfully balancing pathos, terror, sensitivity and nuanced characters with jaw-dropping monster action and effects, Godzilla Minus One is one of the greatest kaiju (giant monster) movies ever made, and is playing in select Victorian cinemas.
– Seth Lukas Hynes