At first, it appears that director Zeze Takahisa is just jumping on the bandwagon of "killer lovers on the road" movies that began with "Bonnie & Clyde" and wore thin with "Love & A .45" (by way of "True Romance" "Natural Born Killers", and everything in between).
But there is a poignancy to this film that is absent in the others. While other directors dehumanize their protagonists, turning them into distant media icons, Takahisa inspires a sense of sympathy for Tomoaki and Mami. As the gun-toting lovers make their way from the dreary urban wastelands, to the Japanese countryside, the audience are treated to moments of vulnerability that make the characters more well-rounded than their Western counterparts.
Zeze uses familiar plot devices to call into question the senseless materialism of modern-day Japan, and the viewer is treated to a stylized, expressionistic world of otherwise familiar sites: family-run restaurants, beach houses, pachinko (Japanese pinball) parlors, etc.
[When I watched "Hysteric" at the Hong Kong International Film Festival (2000), the organizers repeatedly emphasized that the film is based on a true crime, so I suppose that Zeze must think that this is important to note.]
All in all, it's a fun interpretation of an otherwise saturated genre.
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