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Tag: ryo ishibashi

Audition

by on Oct.21, 2010, under Daily Review

For the first half of this movie, you could be mistaken for watching a romance drama, a sweet love story all light and girly but how the tide turns.

I’ve avoided this film. It terrifies me. I once watched it at the cinema and endured horrific visuals whist leaning forward in my cinema seat in a sold out screen. Hot and cold flushes as I sweated through the final half hour. Christ, why would I watch this again? For a film to have such a physical effect on a viewer, it’s obviously doing something right, and of cause, surly this is the reason we watch films, to enjoy the various emotions and live out other lives and experiences.

Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi) loses his wife, his true love. For years he works as a single parent. His close friend has a word, maybe it’s time to move on. 

Coincidentally, they both work in film production and use the ploy of a lead role in a movie as an excuse to audition for a girlfriend. One girl stand out from the rest, she’s quiet, polite and pretty. But after a few dates, Shigeharu begins to suspect he may have a little bunny boiler.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. Truly Takashi Miike’s  masterpiece. It’s impact on a second viewing is as effective as the first, ten years ago. It’s shocking and sincere, a strange balance between innocent and fiend. Eihi Shiina role as Asami the girlfriend is quite a performance, while Ishibashi takes the role as the tormented boyfriend and offers a stunning character. The final half of the film is shocking but walks a very careful path to stay on the believable with Asami just balancing on the edge, her actions show psycho loon, whilst her manner is polite and quiet, cute smiles. It’s this that really works here. We also get a good twist which has been done to death in film but here manages to work with it with perfect results.

The final scene is beautifully executed with Asami’s words from a slumbering scene whilst the viewer watches a Romeo & Juliette-esq albeit slightly carnageified to the extreme, but allows the viewer to question the outcome and reality.

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Jisatsu Sâkuru (Suicide Club)

by on Apr.13, 2010, under Daily Review

50 teenage girls smile and laugh at the side of a subway station, awaiting the train to take them away on their journey, but they aren’t planning on riding the train, but seeking transport to the other side of life itself. And so, holding hands, they simultaneously jump into the oncoming tube. A nasty scene which burns my brain. The joviality of suicide captured here in it’s mast vivid and colourful in harsh reality. Blood soaks everything from drivers windscreen to other travellers. The smiles on the girls faces offer the highest level of disturbance as they outwardly accept their actions. But this is only the beginning so what seems to be a cult or club of a suicide pact by teenagers throughout Japan.

A Police inspector takes the case and finds himself in something much deeper than he imagined as a sports bag is found at the scene of several mass suicides, containing a coiled strip of collecting samples of future victims skin, sliced off prior to suicide. A back drop of teen music by Desert, a track called ‘mail me’ could hold a link to the club, and what of the creepy website of red and white dots suggesting precognitive knowledge of the suicides.

This film plays with your mind, pushing the emotions through shocking visuals but backs up the drama with intrigue with well paced hooks which draw the viewer in, closer to a conclusion which you know you will never truly get. (This being a Japanese film, many of which, famed for a lack of 3 act) But here we at least get some kind of reasoning we are offered the ‘how are you connected to yourself’? An intriguing idea that questions our stamp on time and place with our connection to family and friend and loss and remembrance, but what about ourselves? Will we remembered without family or friends. Therefore, are we connected to our self?

It’s a great film, although could have done with some editing of plot as some branches do seem to take the film in a very different direction. The bowling alley with Japanese rock band and tortured bodies in bags? What was that all about? For the main though, great use of internet, phone and music references.

Cracking acting here too. Ryo Ishibashi (Detective Kuroda), Masatoshi Nagase (Detective Nagase) and Maiko Mori whose character eventually infiltrates what we are repeatable informed is not a suicide club. Totally irresistible viewing leaving plenty of room for debate.

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