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This is a spoiler review. If you haven't seen the movie and don't want it to be spoiled then turn away. Just bear in mind that I recommend it. I feel that this movie deserves that someone tries to go in depth with it. The few reviews out only seem to have looked at it for a couple second and written what it seemed to be about.
So this is the ultimate youth movie. The editing style is close to music videos at time and there is some hip hop influence. An antidote to all the high school movies and series being made. We are following some outcasts in Tokyo. Maybe in style with Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy. These outcasts are the ones that most people ignore. We see them constantly kicking the door in the train or shouting in the bus. Nobody notices them. It's all frustration that they have build up. A lot of people would have no chance to relate to this movie and write it off as unrealistic but I think it is a very good portrait of youth and the mechanisms in society concerning youth.
Hidenori, our Japanese-Korean protagonist, acts like a learning disabled. He's been brought up with the idiom: When you get slapped then turn both cheeks and laugh! He is told to hit back, but he laughs instead. We also find out how distantly Korean he is but it still has its effect on him. He skips school and walks around in an idle manner having nothing to do. He is told that he should fight back, not let himself bother with teasing but conform. Hidenori is the worst case-scenario, that conformity can lead to the opposite. We have all these marginalized teens who really just want to be happy but don't know how to achieve it because something went very wrong.
Yumi, the girl, she suffers from an eating disorder. People today know a lot more about sicknesses and medicine than they did not long time ago. A very great scene is when the doctor tries to talk to her as a child but she knows more about the subject than the doctor. Yumi has to listen to peoples conversation and she does in no way enjoy it.
So we meet Hidenori's sister. She is smiling and suddenly showing pictures of all her friends and telling how they all got great personalities. The day after she commits suicide. This is of course very hard to understand. One thing it comments is how easy it can be for people to commit suicide in japan.
Another thing is that she clearly is living in an illusion like the rest but they have to keep it up or they have nothing to live for. So they want to take his sister back to Korea. Korea now serves as "the home", that they want to return to in an escapist sense. It's a road movie on many levels. The movie opinions that youth can be a self-destructive path.
One thing I am complexed about is what this director really thinks. He is in a youthful way urging to rebel but at the same time showing how stupid it is to oppose. They do not chase their happiness because they are afraid, they deceive themselves. And they are literally following an idiot. They are marginalized and isolated to such a degree that they would do anything the idiot does. We see them putting their dream into his sister. They want her to go to a university and they want her to be happy and beautiful. The sister is their own self and all these outsiders find comfort in their disillusion.
The cinematography, composition and the weird camera angles are highly enjoyable to watch. The story telling is very intriguing. It doesn't tell the things to you, it lets you slowly realizing what is going on.
I hope for those who have seen the movie, that my review could bring some light on the movie and make you think more about it. It's been more than a year since I've seen it and there is still no review here on IMDb. Enjoy!
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