EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO (director/writer: Isabel Coixet; cinematographer: Jean-Claude Larrieu; editor: Irene Blecua; music: Fatima Montes; cast: Rinko Kikuchi (Ryu), Sergi Lopez (David), Hideo Sakaki (Ishida), Takeo Nakahara (Nagara), Manabu Oshio (Yoshi), Min Tanaka (Narrator, sound engineer); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jaume Roures; IFC Films; 2009-Japan-in Japanese and English with English subtitles)|
|"Too dreary to be entertaining."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Isabel Coixet ("Elegy"/"My Life Without
Words") is the writer and director of this stylish but
melancholy love story and hit man crime drama, that is
unconvincing film noir, superficial as a romance story
and too dreary to be entertaining. It's one of those
slick modern films that is pleasing visually but falls
apart as easily as does its lame story when looking
past its superficial pretty face.
unnamed lovesick elderly sound engineer (Min Tanaka)
is the narrator, who looks back with sadness and
misgivings that he did nothing to save the life of the
mysterious night-shift worker at the fish market, the
gorgeous young woman named Ryu (Rinko Kikuchi) he
became obsessed with and had a few mostly silent dates
with. She was gunned down by an assassin in the fish
market. We learn that the fishmonger takes day jobs as
a contract assassin, but other than liking strawberry
mochis tells us little else about herself.
pic opens with a large group of Western and Japanese
businessman eating hot sushi off the navels of naked
women. Shady Japanese corporate head, Nagara (Takeo
Nakahara), learns at this
banquet that his beloved daughter Midori committed
suicide in her bathroom and left blood smeared
writings on the bathroom mirror saying 'Why don't
you love me as I love you? Nagara feels contempt
for David (Sergi
Lopez), his daughter's Spanish
boyfriend, who has lived in Tokyo for the last
three years and owns a gourmet wine store, and
blames him for the reason she died. Ishida (Hideo
Sakaki), the loyal young
assistant to Nagara, grants his boss' wish to
eliminate the lover and contacts a female assassin
named Ryu to kill David. Instead of killing David,
the laconic Ryu falls in love with him and tells
Ishida she will return her fee and some additional
money not to do the job. David screws her a few
times in a garish love hotel room, made to look
like Liberace's subway car and then dumps her to
return to Barcelona and start life anew. Before
splitting David drops by Ryu's workplace to tell
her in person, you see he's just that kind of a
considerate guy, and she pretends not to be hurt
and before an assassin arrives to put her out of
her misery (and I might add the viewer's) says
shit to lover boy like:
"We've gone a few times to a love hotel.
The plodding pretentious arthouse pic is not believable in its love relationships and further saddled with an uninteresting clinical performance by Japanese star Kikuchi, and the Spanish star Lopez seems like a lost soul, out of his elements in this pic, as he goes through the motions of trying to get us to believe he's this sensitive lover even though his romantic lines are cheesy and it's also hard to be convinced that he's this hot-shot wine connoisseur taking his act to a different culture.
REVIEWED ON 2/24/2013 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ