Paprika

In theaters.

I usually include a brief summary of the premise when I write about movies, but I haven’t a clue how to manage that with Paprika. The brilliant but bizarre anime feature slips in and out of reality without notice. The plot twists frenetically, the characters take on multiple guises, and the imagery challenges Western expectations about what animation can accomplish.

Only ninety minutes in length, Paprika feels longer, not because it drags (it doesn’t) but because it’s so rich and dense and stimulating. It’s the kind of movie that demands that you give yourself over to it, that you accept its phantasmagorical world and let go of any preconceived notions you might have had about where the story will take you—and that kind of aesthetic submersion is thrilling. Once Paprika was over, I immediately wanted to watch it again.