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Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
Cheryl is a Hong Kong-based film director who uses the story of her first love as the basis for her next screen project. As she tells her tale to a screenwriter, she relives memories from a more innocent time.
The story is about a Grim Reaper, whose job is deciding whether or not the 'subject' is ready for unexpected deaths. The movie is divided into three episodes, first about an OL in her 20s, second about a yakuza in his 40s, and the last about an old lady in her 70s. All the different episodes seem to be unrelated, but connects spontaneously in the end.
Although the whole 'Shinigami' thing, which literally means 'death god' or 'Grim Reaper' is very common in Japanese culture, the concept somewhat reminded me of "Meet Joe Black", and the random encounter with other Shinigami reminded me of "City of Angels". However, I was relieved the story focused on the protagonist's gradual understanding of life rather than falling in love with his 'subjects'.
It has been a long time since I saw Kaneshiro Takeshi in a Japanese movie. He has been appearing in many epic Chinese/HK movies of late, and it was fun watching such 'S-class' actor in a Japanese film again. He played the innocent and composed personality of his character very well. I really liked the silent dog too. The subtitled conversation really adds to the fantasy in addition to the 'bridge and door'.
This film was exceptionally well directed. There were so many memorable scenes and advanced camera-work/angles. Even the special effects, other than the 'touch of death', were amazing considering Japanese budgets.
Personally, this movie didn't really make me ponder about life, so it may have failed in that aspect, but it was a story well told.
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