Tsuta Tesuichiro's debut feature manages to recreate the tone and the texture of Japan's popular gangster movies from the 1950s and 60s. 'Island of Dreams' was shot on black-and-white 16mm (which has since been blown up to Cinemascope), the special effects were created in the camera, and Tetsuichiro has even developed the exposed film reels himself. The result looks exactly like a rediscovered film noir from the period, and even if the story is set in the present, it remains faithful to the rules of the genre with clearly drawn characters, a straightforward story, a dry sense of underplayed humour and an unambiguous moral.
The eco-terrorist Alan blows up home-made bombs in factories around Tokyo's rubbish dump, which goes by the euphemistic name of Island of Dreams. He wants to attract the whole world's attention, but primarily gets that of the policeman Terayama, who is constantly at the young antihero's heels. Had it been a modern film, one might have found the plot a bit too thin and the message a bit too heavy-handed, but within the historical genre framework, the tone holds all the way and it gives 'Island of Dreams' its own authenticity.
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