Films like Ash Is Purest White are difficult to review. Not because they’re bad (although parts of this movie are), but because it falls into this nebulous zone between bad and good. It’s certainly not the worst film I’ve ever seen, far from it actually, as there are things to like about this nearly two and a half hour long romance. Although this is the case, I also can’t in good faith recommend this film, or even call it good. It just… exists, I suppose. It’s not offensively terrible in really any context, I just feel that the final product only produced complete and utter apathy for myself as a viewer. I did enjoy the soundtrack, and felt its use was appropriate throughout the film. This is one of the only positives I can glean from this experience, sadly.
The characters we are introduced to come sometimes literally out of thin air, never to be referenced again after a brief, confusing introduction, laden with stilted dialogue, referencing events which the audience learns about no sooner than the characters. Perhaps that’s just the translation to English. Either way, this leaves no room for dramatic tension, and leaves even the most climactic scenes feeling lifeless. To try and draw an analog to this film from a real-life instance, I guess I would most see Ash Is Purest White compared to a car which is not quite out of commission, but is certainly getting there. There are so many false starts that end in disappointment during the overlong runtime that I honestly lost count after a while. One scene which included some competent fight choreography had me excited for where the film would go after that scene, but the feeling quickly faded as I was greeted by more meandering characters, lost in an endlessly disappointing screenplay.
There were, as well, many false endings. Must have been at least half a dozen times during my viewing that I thought to myself “that’s the end… right?” No, in fact, after the first couple of times this happened, I checked my phone for the time, a thing which I usually never resort to as a respectful audience member, unless in the most tedious circumstances. This, I felt, was one of them. When I checked my phone, I discovered that the screening had at least FORTY-FIVE minutes left, according to the schedule I had on my phone. I was shocked. To leave this review on a positive note, I enjoyed the cinematography quite a bit at multiple points throughout the film. The way in which the 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios were used in the beginning honestly had me intrigued. Alas, it was yet another putter from an engine that just would not start.