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There is always room for improvement; leave a comment tell me what you think. And please, be brutal. Nothing like being eviscerated by the general public (though in reality no one reads this so maybe not so general public).

10 10월, 2007

To Be Unfeeling

Freesia: Icy Tears is another Japanese cinema offering, this time from indie director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri. In an alternate near future Japan, revenge killings are sanctioned and regulated by the Nihon government. Any family seeking revenge hires an agency which in turn gives those targeted a time, a place for said killing and even the option of hiring state or private body guards to protect you. Hiroshi is a newly hired contract killer working for one of those agencies, helmed by a woman with more than a little vengeance on her mind. He's cold, ruthless and gets the job done without any unnecessary fuss. He and his boss share a secret past: the military tests a weapon on thirty orphans leaving a lone orphan girl and a child soldier who witnesses the crime. The movie essentially has dual stories intertwined, one being boss lady seeking revenge against Toshio who, fifteen years ago, led the orphans on the test site on orders and abandoned them there. The other path being watching Hiroshi do his thing. None of the story lines are particularly fulfilling.

The reasons I like this movie; it is quiet. There are no particular highs or lows, in this movie, which is also reflected in the soundtrack. Instead, there is this steady, almost plodding, pace heading towards the finish line. There are no big twists or massive revelations that shock the heck out of you. There is also a certain allure to Hiroshi. His silence emotes, weirdly enough, this tortured, scarred soul whose life is without fear, plagued by the recurring image of the second witness but unable to react to it in any visceral way. He seems to be reaching out for something to connect to and when he finally does, races out and does something which makes no sense to me at all. Go figure.

The reasons I don't like it? It is predictable as all get out. There are no real surprises. The movie has got a real sort of show down in the wild west with gunslingers vibe, with deathly enemies and noirish femme fatale-like character, but is some what disjointed. The major characters in this movie all have a direct link to the military experiment and we get to see the role that each plays in each but somehow, the director manages to screw it up and it does not come across as a cohesive narrative. There were so many threads that were picked up woven into the story line, only to be suddenly abandoned and the viewers are left to figure out exactly what's going on. Other plot sequences make no contribution to the storyline other than to move characters to the final showdown location, which, really, should not happen in ANY good movie. Secondary characters and storylines eat too much into what should essentially be a story about 3 people coming to terms with their past, period. Instead it tries to become a character study waaay too late into the movie, where frankly, we could care less.

To be honest the most riveting thing about movie was observing the cinematic tricks the director utilised to make the movie. Things like using sepia tones through most of the movie, draping the lead male in the only bit of colour in the movie, and the boss lady suddenly draped in red after a turning point in the movie. Even to me, a cinema theory idiot could spot them a mile away. I kind of hate it when they are that obvious, it's kind of like "really, that is all you could come up with?" sort of thing. The movie does have some intriguing questions raised, and could have easily been a great movie instead of a so-so one.

3.5 out 5 for a great attempt.

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