Rishav Mishra’s review published on Letterboxd:
What is loneliness? What are relationships? What is the essence of humanly bond?
Ritual manages to take a deep dive into these themes utilizing symbolism and continually challenging the viewer to relate to its lead characters: The girl and The Director.
Let's just get the obvious out of the way first. Ritual is masterfully shot and incredibly acted by the two leads. Anno used constrasting set designs to establish most of his scenes and this makes every frame ooze with brilliance. I can honestly say that this is probably one of the most well shot movies of all time. The cinematography, the costumes, the colors and the locations all contribute towards setting the mood and enhancing the overall story. Since this movie relies heavily on the state of mind of the leads, Iwai and Fujitani portray characters brimming with pent up emotions and mental illness. The characters are given no proper introdcution but, this makes the overarching gist even more compelling.
I have to be honest and vulnerable for the purposes of this review so please bear with me. This movie resonated with me in so many different levels. Sometimes, I feel that I am just drifting along in the vast ocean without any tools and with no sense of direction. There is a scene in the movie where the male character is shown mingling with his past friends. Everyone is shown having fun with loud chatters and laughter in the background. However, Iwai's character sits there glaring at everyone, knowing that he is only there physically, knowing that he yearns for a natural connection and knowing that he needs someone to help him get out of his misery. This scene ends with him faking a smile and that moved me deeply. I actually felt like Anno was tapping into my vulnerabilities, yanking them all out in the open and leaving me there with my thoughts and emotions. Fujitani's character is shown with a sense of fragility, almost as if she is at the verge of succumbing to the darkness. This is cleverly presented with scences interluded into the movie where two parallel trains begin diverging with her in the middle. I also love how the leads never maintain proper eye contact or ever have normal conversations and how this all adds to the plight of their respective mental states. The soundtrack is also absolutely jaw dropping. It is purposefully gloomy in tone and adds layers of depth to the raw emotions and vulnerabilities being shown onscreen.
There's so much more I want to talk about but, my mind feels awfully jetlagged cause of the sheer impact this movie had on me. I will end this review with a few wise words of enlightenment:
Everyday is your birthday! Don't let the moments slip by as you tread the murky waters of life!
P.S: I am writing this on my phone, under the moonlit sky while feasting my eyes on the beautiful Atlantic ocean. Much love to anyone who reads this half-assed attempt at writing a decent review 🧡