April 19, 2010

Adrift In Tokyo (Satoshi Miki, 2007)


WHAT IT IS: Unable to repay his student loans, a law student in Tokyo has to accompany the debt collector on a tour of the city to wipe his slate clean.

HOW IT IS: In a cluster of bizarre scenes and odd situations, Adrift in Tokyo makes us experience its city, from its empty residential streets to its Metropolis-like allure; it is an abyss of contradictions, just as we are. It embodies much better the spirit of Tokyo than the cold, aseptic portrayals of films like Babel or Lost in Translation. Its inhabitants repeatedly show how colorful but likeable they are, making for several laugh-out-loud funny scenes.

But, as funny as Adrift in Tokyo is, it slowly becomes apparent, as the film nears its end, that heart is at the center of its storytelling. Jo Odagiri shines as the clueless serial-student oblivious to the realities of life and in desperate need of guidance. As the tragedy of life replaces its comedy, his character (and the public which accompanies him on this journey) deplores that this wonderful experience is coming to an end but understands that it could never go any other way,

Adrift in Tokyo is a gem; it flatters all the right emotional strings and pleases without ever ridiculing itself or its characters. It is a testament to what makes us all human.

IF YOU LIKED: Broken Flowers, Shall We Dance.

INFO: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1098226/