A simple, undemanding mechanical draftsman who lives a lonely
existence meets a young and beautiful girl who he falls for
her instantly, despite their 15-year age difference. He soon
discovers that his new wife is a shopaholic who cannot stop
buying clothing and when tragedy strikes, he is forced to
look at his life in a whole different way.
it appears that my trusted fellow columnist who reviewed this
art house film during its theatrical release isn’t exactly
its biggest fan, I’d choose to think that he did not
really mean to bash the movie that badly.
see, many people believe that the movie-going experience is
only complete if there is a movie partner, and since he watched
it in a theatre, it is only logical that he had someone watching
the movie with him.
a film that deals with stark themes of loss and loneliness,
I’d suppose that the depressing emptiness of the message
behind it will be best felt when you watch it alone, preferably
late at night, when there is not a single soul you can share
your thoughts with.
is the kind of loneliness the titular character of this Japanese
production probably felt all his life. And judging from his
appearance, he sure looks like he had been suffering in silent
solitude for the longest time.
runtime of 75 minutes may seem short, but it feels like a
whole lifetime as the narrator would tell you (get ready for
a really long list of events): how Tony grew up being shunned
because of his western name, how his father never spent much
time with him, how he became a technical illustrator with
no feelings in his works, how he fell in love somebody 15
years younger, how he plucked up the courage to ask for her
hand in marriage, how the girl buys an unimaginable amount
of clothes, how she died in an accident, how Tony tries to
find himself a replacement companion, and finally, how Tony’s
life became empty again.
is worthy of one 30-episode television drama serial, if you
Jun Ichikawa does a decent job of translating Haruki Murakami’s
widely-read novel onto the celluloid – in less than
the typical one-and-a-half-hour movie duration.
dullness is effectively reflected in the bland and boring
shades of grey used in the film. The camera movement is as
slow as the pace of the movie. Scenes take their time to transit,
with the constant use of a tracking camera. The somewhat monotonous
tinkling of piano keys that plays in the background feels
like those pieces you’d hear in a lazy lounge on a sleepy
afternoon. All these may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Rie Miyazawa has the easier task of playing the female lead,
it is Issei Ogata I’d applaud for being able to portray
one of the most cheer-less characters I’ve ever seen
in a film.
you’ve settled down with the fact that probably nothing
exciting is going to happen in this man’s life, he becomes
happy for the first time during his initial married days.
But you also know tragedy will strike when he worries about
how he is going to cope when loneliness ever again.
bad things happen to Tony, simply because the world was never
fair to everyone.
goes back to his discouraged and downcast self, you would
wonder whether it was a good thing to be blissful at all,
knowing that the end of the day would still bring with it
dejections and disappointments.
mentioned in the beginning of this review, to truly understand
this disheartening film, it is recommended that you watch
it in isolation, and not with a big group of happy people.
is why I’ve got a higher rating for this film than my
trusted fellow columnist, as I’ve long ditched the ideal
notion of having movie partners to watch movies with.
Cinematographer Taishi Hirokawa’s choice of dull and
bland colours manages to feel sad and forlorn, thanks to the
disc’s effective visual transfer. The audio can be heard
on Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s
quiet score lingering in the background.
extra features are included in this Code 3 DVD. What did you
expect - a crash course on how to deal with loneliness?
DVD RATING :
by John Li