Casshern is a Japanese action flick, supposedly. However there's very little action. I've seen the anime OAV that it's based on, so I was expecting a strait-up, mindless, blow-up-robots-with-your-bare-hands action movie. What I got was... weird. I mean... the best word I have to describe the movie is "weird." There was so much that happened in the movie that made no sense whatsoever to me. Even after everything was said and done and everyone's motives were revealed and all the secrets in the open, it still made almost no sense. And the amount of robot-destruction was at a minimum. I spent most of the movie scratching my head and being disappointed at how little action there was. I'm not against non-action flicks, but I had certain expectations, you see, and those expectations were not met.
Yet, despite that, I think I really loved the movie.
Maybe I didn't enjoy it per se, but the movie touched me. You see, throughout the movie, everyone makes bad choices and does everything they can to advance their own agendas, usually while hampering those of others. And not in a nice way either. It was vicious. The various "bad guys" want revenge in quite literally the worst way possible; Casshern (the good guy) really was just trying to stop the violence and killing, usually ending up just making things worse; his father is consumed by grief, making him perform atrocities; the government is about as controlling and evil as it can be with the several government people we meet being evil and conniving, ranging from selfish to well intentioned extremists. And by the end, everyone dies. Some more than once.
It was rather depressing. Yet what got me was at the very end of the movie...
Warning: Spoilers ahead:
We are presented with a montage of clips of all the characters acting in their exact opposite roles, spliced in with the shot of the protagonist and his fiance being taken away in a beam of light to another world (I think). It shows the son who betrayed his infirm father instead is caring for him lovingly; the simpleton who is confused at all the violence surrounding him is happy, sitting on a bench and learning simple joys; The protagonist and his fiance just being together in peace. A bunch of other stuff like that: All of these people who did horrible things to each other and to humanity, almost all of who were either sad, angry, evil, or had given up hope all were doing the opposite. They were all kind, good people and you could just sense the peace and happiness come off of them. The beautiful music accompanying the montage helped a lot too. It was really and unexpectedly emotional. And when contrasted to the previous 99% of the movie, it was all the more powerful. Kind of like being beaten with negative emotion nerf bats for two hours and then suddenly Mike Tyson punches you in the nose with a positive emotion boxing glove. The emotions it stirred up in me made me want to be a better person, to re-evaluate my life and change it for the better. It made me want to improve the condition of my fellow man and mankind in general. For lack of a better term, it was a spiritual experience. The only reason I might hesitate to use that term is because, except for the last few minutes, its a very, very dark film. But, then again, life can also be a very, very dark place.
Bottom Line: I would hesitate only ever so much to suggest that you go out and watch this film. Let me say that this film is very, very worth watching. Just, don't expect it to make sense. If you go into it with the expectation of you will not understand what is going on or why, then you will enjoy this movie a lot more. I don't know if it will touch you in the same way it touched me, but the potential is there. Pay more attention to your emotions than your brain when you watch this, and you just might be able to make sense of it.