Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adrift in Tokyo (Dir Satoshi Miki, Language - Japanese)

Adrift in Tokyo.jpg
With snowstorm Electra keeping its date with NY/NJ area,  I gradually warmed up to the idea of watching a a half decent movie on a cold December afternoon. And I was in luck.

This movie has very unusual protagonists for the theme which is series of long walks through the city. One would expect a couple's either sustained or past romance to act as sub plot to the walks. However, Adrift in Tokyo has a loan shark and a debt laden student as the leading characters. Together they trudge along lesser known parts of Tokyo - its quiet leafy streets and little Shinto and Buddhist shrines in the neighborhood. Contrary to the popular imagery as shown in movies like Lost in Translation, Tokyo has lot of leafy pathways that are full of foliage are most beautiful during the fall season. This movie uses autumn to its great advantage - and is quite in line with its bitter sweet subtext. 

Makers have also scored the bulls eye with two aspects - one the depiction of lower middle class Japanese, focusing mainly on their vanities and secondly the accentuated nothingness of their lives in general and their struggles with the same. Quirky elements like infatuation with Lacoste brand, using mayonnaise with Japanese curry and that ever present punk rocker walking-performing on the streets create several layers to the simple core plot of the movie that is an arrangement between the lead characters of the movie. One in which student has to accompany the loan shark as he walks through the streets of Tokyo and in return loan shark will write off his debt.

The first half focuses more on the physical manifestations of the walk - places, restaurants, food while the second half is more about relationships and together they build up the optimism of a miracle and leaves one on the crossroads at the end. 

A must watch in my opinion.

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