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Asato (Koike Teppei) is a young man who returns to a slummy neighbourhood (referred to as 'The Street') to be near his Mum who is in prison. He is like the Empath in Star Trek, able to transfer other people's injuries and is unable to walk past a child with a grazed knee or broken arm without helping them. He is protected from street thugs by Takeo (Hiroshi Tamaki), another troubled young man who is a street thug and who has issues involving his father who is lying in a coma in hospital. The third member of their group is a young waitress, Shihi (Chiaki Kuriyama), who has her own secret.
Quite often, you watch a film without having any great expectations of it, and come across a pearl. I really enjoyed this film. It is extremely well-acted by the three principals and the relationships were moving. I think the film works so well because it focuses on the relationship, (those of friendship and those between children and parents), rather than making a big deal of the fantasy element: while Asato's healing powers are important to the plot, the director focuses on the drama.
I bought this a a Region 3 DVD from HKFlix but have also seen it available on Amazon.com and E-Bay. The sound is 5.1 and I was really impressed by the background music by Yoshihiro Ike which enhanced the mood of the film perfectly. The English subtitles are not perfect but they are understandable and do not spoil one's enjoyment of the film.
I have not given it 10 stars because of some plot inconsistencies, for instance the fact that Asato does not become a local sensation despite healing so many children in playground accidents.
An unexpected gem!
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