After a tragic car accident where his girlfriend Ryôko Ooyama (Nami Tsukamoto) died, Hiroshi Takagi (Tadanobu Asano) suffers amnesia with his memories completely blanked. When he sees a ... See full summary »
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After a tragic car accident where his girlfriend Ryôko Ooyama (Nami Tsukamoto) died, Hiroshi Takagi (Tadanobu Asano) suffers amnesia with his memories completely blanked. When he sees a book about dissection, he decides to join the medical school with the support of his parents. In the dissection class, his group participates of the autopsy of a young woman, and while cutting apart the tissue, he partially recalls his accident. Later, when he sees a tattoo in the arm of the corpse, he discloses that she was his girlfriend and becomes obsessed to go further in the examination of the body. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It seems the majority of people who see Shinya Tsukamoto films are people who are fans of his to begin with. I am definitely a fan and have seen almost all his films - "Bullet Ballet", "A Snake of June", "Tokyo Fist", "Tetsuo 1&2". Tsukamoto is one of my favorite directors. In my opinion, he towers above most other film makers. His style is totally unconventional and he tends to make movies that can't easily be categorized, so fan-boy types tend to ignore him as overly "artsy", while lovers of more lush, slow-moving Japanese films tend to see him as overly frenetic and violent. Plot and linear narrative is typically incidental in favor of emotional catharsis (his films rarely wrap themselves up neatly, if at all - which can infuriate people). He tends to find a subject and fetishize it (guns in "Bullet Ballet", voyerism in "A Snake of June", metal and machinery in "Tetsuo", physical strength in "Tokyo Fist") rather than follow a standard "he did this, she did that" plot thread.
I would call "Vital" his warmest film to date. This is clearly a more toned down and relaxed Tsukamoto. Perhaps a sign of the director's move toward middle-age. There is very little of the manic hand-held camera work and thundering music from his earlier films. It's mostly static, beautifully framed images of non-moving people. Almost like paintings. Gone also is the furious video scramble editing technique that was taken to such wild extremes in "Bullet Ballet" and "Tetsuo".
The plot involves a young man recovering from amnesia after a car accident, who enters med school only to find the first cadaver he dissects is his old girlfriend (who died in the car crash). The memories start coming back to him, but the young med student (having no memory or reference point for the memories) instead begins to treat them as daydreams, and possible realities.
It sounds creepier than it actually is. The film is basically a love story, and quite a wistful one at that.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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