Psycho-Pass: Providence review: A little too fast-paced

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
psycho pass providence

Psycho-Pass: Providence gives new insight into this high-stakes sci-fi world, but the stakes are often resolved a little too quickly.

Psycho-Pass: Providence is the newest film from the sci-fi anime franchise, set to bridge the gap between the movie Psycho-Pass Sinners of the System Case 3: On the Other Side of Love and Hate, and Season 3 of the Psycho-Pass series. The film has recently been released by TOHO in Japan and is all set to expand its audience access with its debut in the UK in August, distributed by Crunchyroll in partnership with Sony Pictures.

The film continues the story of young inspector Akane Tsunemori and her partner Shinya Kogami, who take a hard position against The Sibyl System, which measures human personality and dictates their place in society from it, Orwellian style.

Now this new movie is set to reveal the full story of our characters, and it certainly reveals a lot. And like the many explosion in this movie, every moment feels like a blast, for better and for worse. Let’s get into it, but first: Slight spoiler warning for Psycho-Pass: Providence!

Psycho-Pass: Providence’s pace is polarizing

The film begins with a rather shocking opening scene, as the body of Professor Milicia Stronskaya is discovered with her head missing. The action throughout the scene is eye-catching, and even if you haven’t kept up with Psycho-Pass for a while, it’s enough to pull you back in.

The film helps you get back up to speed without talking down to you, explaining the world, its inventive technology, and the concept of hues in a way that doesn’t feel overly-expository. Sure, sometimes the constant serious tone of the film can prevent some of the characters from being memorable – as so often everyone is talking nothing but business – but the tone at least feels consistent in its maturity.

This constant seriousness can carry over into the animation, as while it flows well enough during the action scenes, it’s not very imaginative or emotive, and the CGI can sometimes be lackluster.

However, the staging and stakes of said action scenes are very effective, as there are moments where you truly don’t know who will live or die. The battles always move the plot along, and there’s also a nice change of locations for each fight, if some odd music choices sometimes.

Debates are brought up and raced through

The movie follows the struggle between the government and the Peacebreakers, and numerous allies and double agents are revealed, made all the more intricate with the concept of possession.

Though these discussions, and the character arcs that go alongside them, are far too often sped through, with folks blipping out of the movie before you can even begin to care about what they have to say. This is partially out of the film’s control; it being a movie for a TV series leaves it feeling like just a very long episode, which gives you lots of information, but doesn’t let it sit in a complete way.

The antagonists are intriguing, though their plight is another frustrating case of “fighting an authoritarian regime, but doing that too much and going too far,” à la villains like Killmonger. One of our leads even says: “Law will create co-existence,” which may lead to some viewers rolling their eyes.

psycho pass crunchyroll
Difficult debates and decisions are made in this movie.

Granted, we can’t take this conclusion at face value. The ending, which we won’t spoil here, feels like a sudden blast, and shakes up your entire perception of the movie. It’s memorable, definitely, but once again feels a bit too fast paced to really sit well. Though it certainly leaves the door open for another welcome instalment in the Psycho-Pass series.

Psycho-Pass: Providence review score – 3/5

Psycho-Pass: Providence is certainly a film to keep you interested, and as always, the ideas that the anime showcases is enough to spark a wider discussion. The ending alone is enough to get you talking.

But, unfortunately, some choices and pacing issues hold the film back from being truly great.

Psycho-Pass: Providence will release in UK cinemas on August 2. All previous Psycho-Pass instalments are available to watch on Crunchyroll.