Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of ... See full summary »
This film takes a very unique approach to storytelling from the start, with its meandering script that winds through a night in the lives of seedy, hedonistic characters whose activities range from deprived addiction, murder, prostitution, violence and robberies. The film's start is very disjointed from the eventual plot, as through the director had started making a film other than that which makes up most of Junk Food.
It opens with a story about a salary woman (or "O.L." as they are called in Japan) who is addicted to meth. She has various sexual liaisons which result in a sort of playful foray into killing and the situations she enters in pursuit of drugs leave her vulnerable to violence. This ends abruptly but with closure and a story about Japanese "gaijin" and youth gangs begins. One character has an urn filled with the ashes of his friend, he and a Japanese-American prostitute are sort of party-hopping while looking for a proper place to lay the ashes of the deceased to rest. Another simultaneous storyline follows a Pakistani immigrant's decision to rob a pachinko payout to settle his debt to the man who had conned him into coming to Japan and pursue a living. It becomes quite obvious that this character isn't happy in Japan (although his spoken Japanese is excellent) as we see him turn his final tender moments with an unappreciative lover to violence and murder. We also have interspersed through this the story of a common street tough who is introducing a couple would-be newcomers to his gang. This isn't a group to be anything so perspicacious or accomplished as the Yakuza portrayed in film, but egotistical, horny, hot blooded "chinpira" hoods whose greatest exploits seem to be petty crime and riding around in hydraulic suspension low riders. Each storyline closes in personal reflection and the story is sort of "book-ended" by the early AM routine of a blind woman, played by the director's mother. It's things like that which make this film so great, its common place happenings amongst the poverty-stricken and destitute characters and its ambitious portrayal of the quiet grievances of each person. It's well paced and uniquely filmed and very worth watching. Junk Food fits in well with Miike's own Ley Lines (1999) or his Young Thugs films (1997, 1998) for easy comparison, but has the free flowing script in the style of Larry Clark & Harmony Korine's "Kids" (1995). Very seldom is contemporary Japanese poverty given this sort of treatment in film, that in itself makes this film noteworthy.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?