Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2010


Director Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me, The Secret Life of Words, Elegy) has made a number of very good films but, like so many foreign directors who come to Japan, she got seduced by neon, Tokyo cityscapes and lithe women. Shot in the fall and winter of 2008, Night Tokyo Day got loudly booed when it premiered at Cannes in 2009—and rightly so. This clichéd yarn involves Ryu (Rinko Kikuchi), a fishmonger by day and hired killer by night, who is contracted to kill a suave wine seller named David (Sergi Lopez). Predictably, instead of carrying out her work, she jumps into bed with him (or rather into a love-hotel mockup of a Tokyo subway car). There’s little story and even less character development, not to mention a pointless subplot about the elderly narrator (Min Tanaka), who has apparently planted a listening device on Ryu. Spanish actor Lopez’ English is so bad that parts of his performance had to be dubbed. It takes an aggressively awful work to make Kikuchi look like a bad actress, but this one manages the feat. The dialogue is about 60 percent Japanese, 40 percent English, and 100 percent painful. Original title: Map of the Sounds of Tokyo. (98 min)