|An interesting experiment for film that won't be for everyone.||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
Twilight of the Cockroaches is a bit of an oddity for me to cover here thanks to its mix of live action and animated footage used for its run.
The movie is focused on a colony of cockroaches who seemingly live a peaceful coexistence with the human owner of an apartment. But not all is what it seems as once the homeowner gets a girlfriend, the lives of the colony become a living hell when the humans start wiping them out. The movie is focused on two different colonies in this film: those living with the bachelor who are peaceloving yet quite lazy and a militaristic colony who are regularly at odds with the woman who would become the bachelor's girlfriend. It appeared both sides were being portrayed as extreme elements in Japan's history with the militaristic roaches personifying Japan's militaristic regime under Hirohito during World War II and the peaceloving ants portrayed as Japan's modern youth having lost sense of their country's cultural identity from the peacetime it gained after World War II. The film appeared to be an allegory for what Japan could face if it continued to or returned to paths the country shouldn't take in light of now being part of the international community, the humans personifying how outsiders would perceive Japan. This symbolic approach works well for what it wants to tell.
However when it comes to being an engaging work, there are many points in this film where it can be a struggle to watch through depending on what you hope to get out of Twilight of the Cockroaches. The movie occasionally focuses on a young female cockroach named Naomi who comes to interact with both cockroach societies, though her character doesn't get proper focus or development thanks to the movie's focus on the interactions both societies have with their human owners. This also leads to an unconvincing love triangle to develop with Naomi being engaged to a male cockroach from her colony, yet also becomes interested in a male soldier named Hans from the militaristic roach colony. The movie's slow pacing also works against it at a number of points in the film as Twilight of the Cockroaches can get too fixated at points showing off its cinematography to show how the cockroaches perceive themselves dealing with their human owners or traveling around the outside world.
The animated element to this film in the form of the cockroaches are on the simple side in terms of details and are quite outdated in the style in which they are drawn. However, the film's cinematography is still excellent with showing how the world would look through the eyes of the cockroach colonies with point-of-view shots of objects and humans appearing like giants in the eyes of the roaches and use of still shots to show roaches fleeing in terror or dying from human objects like shoes and bug spray. Playing along with seeing the world through a roach's eyes is that the live-action human actors seen in this movie are kept silence (even as they talk) so as to limit the movie's POV to the roaches alone and not having the audience see things through human perspective if the actors were given audible lines.
Overall, Twilight of the Cockroaches is a bit of an oddball of a title thanks to its mix of animated and live-action footage. It does effectively express its symbolic messages involving the cockroach colonies being elements of Japan's history past and present and their perception to foreign nations. However in terms of storytelling, the movie won't be for everyone as it doesn't effectively focus on characters from an individual basis, gets more focused on the colony relationships with their human owners and the slow pacing can make it a chore to go through at points when the movie gets wrapped up in showing off its cinematography. Anyone looking for a title quite different from older and more modern anime could get enjoyment out of this. But if you aren't a big fan of live-action films, I wouldn't bother picking this up.