Ghost in the Shell
It’s no exaggeration to say that Ghost in the Shell is one of the most influential sci-fi films of the last two decades. Set in a futuristic cyberpunk world, Mamoru Oshii’s anime classic has inspired numerous live action pictures over the years – including, most notably, The Matrix. Adapted from Masamune Shirow’s manga series, it follows an elite public security agency as they attempt to track down an elusive hacker known as the Puppet Master.
The film is occasionally guilty of clumsy exposition, and the intricacies of the plot can be difficult to follow on first viewing, but there are more than enough positives to compensate, as Oshii fuses stylish action sequences with arresting visuals and thought-provoking questions about what it means to be human. Ghost in the Shell isn’t perfect, but it has an appealing dream-like quality, and the animation is incredibly striking. [Stephen Carty]