Ghost In The Shell Review:
We could talk about the style in Ghost In The Shell all day, and confine the plot to brief brackets. As Blade Runner did it before, this slinky, cyberpunk action flick makes its style the entire statement, pondering a future of human-robot synergy simply by visualising it in as much eye-popping detail as possible. The ghost of the title – derived from the Japanese manga comics by Masamune Shirow, which were heretofore adapted as anime features – is the human consciousness of the heroine.
In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to, and her life was not saved. Instead, it was stolen.
Purists may not want to believe it, but Scarlett Johansson is ideal at the conceptual side of the role. The unusual disconnect between Johansson’s intelligence and her coolly dispassionate looks has been exploited before, most brilliantly in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. Here she is both ghost and shell – a pair of soulful eyes, welling with memory and confusion, stranded inside a gorgeously supple action figure.
The only disappointment are the shop-window, fly-by shots pimping out the environment – they’re overbusy and over-digitised, especially the kitschy holographic landmarks, perched high up in this concentration city.
For Johansson, this could easily be a franchise in the making, her own futuristic, post-human equivalent of a John Wick or Bourne. It needs the embrace of a willing audience first, but with trappings this glintingly cool and seductive, it’s hard to see how the offer can be refused.