Ash is a beautiful loner in a crumbling society who, like many, finds solace in Avalon, an illegal virtual war game.
Groundbreaking anime director Oshii turns his hand to live action in this bleak but mesmerising vision of the future.
Ash (Foremniak) is a beautiful loner in a crumbling society who, like many, finds solace in Avalon, an illegal virtual war game. Learning about Class A, a level which has left her friend in a vegetative state, she determines to reach it at whatever cost, and embarks on a dangerous, dream-like journey.
Stark visual contrasts heighten the difference between her dank reality (filmed in Poland, with Eastern Bloc stylings) and the combative world of Avalon Class B. As for Class A, well... This is a slow-moving film, light on dialogue, exposition and character detail, but ripe with symbolism, bold cinematography and atmosphere.
Despite occasional bursts of activity, it's not an action sci-fi, rather a thoughtful one. Virtual reality enthusiasts will have plenty to muse on.