Friday, September 12, 2014

Film Review: Adrift in Tokyo (2007)

Adrift in Tokyo (Review)
Japan/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...made me wish I were adrift in Tokyo."

As of his 8th year of college, Fumiya Takemura (Joe Odagiri) has accumulated 800,000 yen of debt. Debt collector Aiichiro Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura) offers Fumiya a million yen to walk with him in Tokyo.

Adrift in Tokyo is very simple and very straightforward. In fact, as far as plot goes, that's pretty much it. Fumiya and Fukuhara walk through Tokyo and reminisce, discussing their lives and their choices. The final destination: a police station, so Fukuhara can turn himself in for an unforgivable crime. Fortunately, there's plenty of character to fill up the simple plot. They'll remember hilarious stories, and run into some bizarre people -- really, they'll run into people. This story of people and life leads to an abrupt yet satisfying ending; it doesn't bother to close lose ends, but it definitely works.

As a comedy, Adrift in Tokyo is very black and often irreverent. Fortunately, this is my type of humor. I laughed out loud more than a handful of times, and I was chuckling throughout most of the film; I felt a little guilty laughing at times, but it wouldn't be an effective black comedy if I didn't, right? The characters were just so vivid and lively, they felt like real people and I felt like that amplified the humor. This feeling of life also creates a more engrossing film; that is also amplified by the engaging look into the culture. Those who love culture, like myself, won't mind the thin story since the character and culture are as thick as they are -- it made me wish I were adrift in Tokyo.

Joe Odagiri, who also stars in My Way and Dream, delivers a great performance; he really embodies the "slacker" personality, but with genuine emotion. Tomokazu Miura compliments his performance with equally impressive acting. The pair are charismatic and witty together. Otherwise, the film looks great; the camerawork is very natural and the cinematography captures the setting perfectly, it really helps immerse you into the culture. Director Satoshi Miki does well in crafting this black comedy, with a balanced approach and a steady pace; he also pulls great performances from the entire cast.

Overall, Adrift in Tokyo is a superb film. Its simplicity may not be great to some "film buffs," but I found it to be very attractive. It gives the film room to flesh out its human characters, and plenty of room to immerse the audience into Japanese culture. It's also downright hilarious! Fans of Japanese culture and black comedies should definitely go adrift in Tokyo.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some partial nudity.

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