Other than SABU films, I haven't really liked any Japanese dark comedies, and I generally dislike any films with cult movie qualities... This one is a huge exception.
Funuke Domo... is the story of a countryside family struggle. The movie begins with both parents dying in a car accident. The elder sister (Satou Eriko) comes back home from Tokyo because they are no longer able to send her money for acting school. The other 2 members of the family are the little sister (Satsukawa Aimi), an asthma-stricken aspiring manga writer and older brother (Nagase Masatoshi), who abuses his wife (Nagasaku Hiromi). Now that the frustrated elder sister came back (and eager to leave again though have no money), tension within the family hits an all-time-high. Every member of the family has a dark secret and it leads to one event after another...
This movie is unbelievably well-casted. I have seen Satou Eriko in couple of dorama series before, but she had never been my type of gravure idol. This movie totally converted me. She is just so HOT and fit perfectly into that demonic personality. Her chemistry with Satsukawa Aiko was really good, and there were quite a few interesting interactions between the sisters. I have also seen Satsukawa in a few dorama series before, but she had previously failed to leave any impact on me. Her performance in this film was solid, excellent portrayal of a seemingly innocent but dark-minded girl. Nagase Masatoshi, the only experienced actor of the three, gives the most impressive performance in this movie. His character was concerned and frustrated the whole time, and his subtle acting enabled me to really sympathize with him. Nagasaku Hiromi was recognized with many awards for her supporting role in this film, and she was very funny and expressed her character's feeling exceptionally well. Her acting felt very natural and sincere. Casting was really well-done, but not only that, the director was able to draw out the best out of every one of them. This film is pretty fast-paced, but it still feels like a true Japanese film with excellent mix of wacky and dark humor with subtlety. The country landscape is very beautiful and calming, and there were some pretty advanced camera work that were really impactful.
An exciting movie that explores family conflict. It's a movie that made me think "This is what a great Japanese film is supposed to be like." One of my favorite Japanese movies of 2007.
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