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 »
Losing his son Tom in a hit and run triggers violent emotions in Anthony, whose body begins to transform. When the driver who killed Tom reappears, Anthony mutates into a mass of metal - a human weapon fuelled by an uncontrollable rage.
Three people in Tokyo take a surreal voyage of self-discovery through memory and nightmares. "O" intends suicide while talking on a cell-phone with a stranger he meets on line who plans a ... See full summary »
A man wakes up to find himself locked in a tiny, cramped concrete room, in which he can barely move. He doesn't remember why he is there and where he came from. He has a terrible stomach ... See full summary »
A man sees his life changed for ever when his fiancee shoots herself. Baffled, he wants by all means to obtain such a weapon of destruction and he finds himself caught in a violent group of... See full summary »
A 21-year-old girl is released from prison, only to deal with the neighborhood gossip about her and family conflicts. She decides to save one million yen, move to where no one knows her and keep repeating the process.
Suzume Katagura is a bored housewife who spends her days doing chores and taking care of her husband's pet turtle. One day she sees a wanted ad for spies. Hoping for some excitement she decides to give them a call.
Twice-married Sakura Asuka (the long-lost Yuki Uchida) finds life all too much and ends up tied to the table in the 'Quiet Room' of a mental hospital. In the ensuing days she glimpses the tragedies of her fellow inmates, while piecing together the events in her life that lead her to this impasse.
Suzuki's script encompasses light comedy, weighty drama, surreal visuals, slapstick, social commentary. It lurches from one to the other with barely a pause to mark the transition. The comedy works best, especially when Asuka is with her orthodontically-challenged husband Tetsuo (a study in comic timing from Kudo Kankuro). A reassuring bum-grab was especially effective in raising a smile. Uchida puts in a strong shift as the troubled Asuka, but is matched by a strong cast and surpassed by the electric Shinobu Otake, who is the only one who comes off as genuinely, scarily, mad at times.
It is entertaining while it lasts, but there is no sense of a life lived off screen for these characters, and their tragedies lack a deeper resonance (though the charismatic Aoi Yu as Miki manages to haunt the screen at times). I was touched by Asuka but did not feel I understood her, or particularly care about her character once the credits started to roll. There are some clangers - a musical number? - including the final reckoning with Tetsuo, which is played for laughs when it should be much more poignant. A frothy Girl, Interrupted is about the measure of it.
More fun than insightful, there is enough episodic comedy in this film to make it worth viewing. Asuka's roommate advises her to ditch all connection with the hospital once released. We can see each other through she says, but we'll only drag each other down on the outside. Good advice that applies to the film itself - enjoy it while it is there, but don't expect it to last in the memory long.
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