Ghost in the Shell
Mamoru Oshii, Japan, 1995o
Japan 2029: After countless tough missions, the special agent Major consists only of indestructible spare parts. Only her titanium brain shell contains a remnant of human cells. She no longer knows any physical limits. With the ability to short-circuit her own nervous system with computers, she becomes the adversary of an all-powerful hacker.
There are moments of sheer visual poetry in ‘Ghost in the Shell’: its crumbling metropolis is vaster and more detailed than anything this side of ‘Blade Runner’, and the interface between the real world and cyberspace is beautifully realised. The plot is impossibly dense and the characters – perhaps appropriately – feel like little more than cyphers, but for sheer mind-expanding sci-fi strangeness this is hard to beat.Tom Huddleston
In the film’s centrepiece scene – one of the single greatest animated sequences ever created – Kusanagi wanders through the nameless city, while the people around her make their way silently from place to place, hypnotised by advertising, defeated by the rain. Is she still human? Are they? This is a work of profound and melancholic beauty; every bit as essential in the 21st century as it was in the 20th.Robbie Collin