OPENS SEPTEMBER 12, CERT U, 122 MINS
Ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents are driving in their Audi to their new home in a new city. An ill-advised detour leads the family down a tunnel to a ghost town where a mysterious banquet waits. As her parents stuff themselves with so much food that they turn into pigs, a terrified Chihiro is forced to survive on her wits in a fantastical world of ghouls, talking frogs, wicked grandmothers and grotesque gods.
The word “indescribable” is the last refuge of the punch-drunk hack, but Spirited Away lets its fingers run so deftly across the keys of dream, fantasy and memory that it’s as much as you can do to keep from drowning (a fate that keeps rearing up in Chihiro’s subconscious as she soars on the back of a flying river-dragon or travels across beautiful landscapes on a magic train). The film manages to quote from every myth you’ve ever known, from Alice In Wonderland to Cinderella and presumably their Japanese equivalents, but?thanks to cunning graphics and cartwheeling imaginative twists?it’s ultimately like nothing you’ve ever seen.