Quirky and engaging


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2012

Director Yoshihiro Nakamura’s last two films, Fish Story and Golden Slumber, have both been excellent—so expectations were high for this newest release. This unpredictable auteur has come up with a quirky and engaging—though not exactly feature-length—piece that confounds expectations.

Based on another short story from the collection Fish Story by Kotaro Isaka, the film opens with twenty-something Tadashi (Gaku Hamada) and forty-something Kurosawa (Nao Omori) discussing life. The mysterious older man seems a societal outsider and it soon becomes clear they are partners in crime. They break into an apartment only to hear a desperate voicemail from a suicidal woman. Abandoning their planned robbery, they run to her aid and she becomes Tadashi’s live-in girlfriend. Amid an aimless atmosphere this scenario is repeated when Gaku breaks into a famous local baseball players’ abode—an idol whose birthday he shares. What appears to be a second pleading voicemail ends up being a honey trap for the athlete and Tadashi heads it off, only to open up more queries about his connection to the star.

Questioning identity, family and loyalty, this idiosyncratic work isn’t completely satisfying but does make the viewer think. Well worth a peek. (68 min)