Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Adrift in Tokyo

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I remember thinking once that there were so many movies out there that it might be impossible to watch them all within a single lifetime.  If this was the case, how would you know what was worth watching?  This isn’t even taking into account having to pay to buy or rent the movies.  (For that matter, a good number of movies probably aren‘t even available.)  Netflix helps with that a little.  I’ve been able to stream a lot of movies that I may not have even heard of otherwise.  This is how I came across Adrift in Tokyo.  It’s one of those oddball movies that I just don’t hear about.

The movie starts with Fumiya Takemura, a student that owes a loan shark 840,000 yen.  (That’s about $8,260.)  Said loan shark sends Aiichiro Fukuhara to collect.  Fumiya has three days to pay up…or else.  Aiichiro returns the next day to make Fumiya a proposition.  Aiichiro will give Fumiya a million yen if Fumiya accompanies Aiichiro on a walk.  The walk may take three days or it may take a month.  Fumiya has a hard time believing it’s that simple.  Why would Aiichiro need the company, anyway?  The again, Fumiya is being offered more money than he needs, not to mention that Aiichiro has Fumiya’s driver’s license and student ID.  So, their road trip on foot begins.

You’re probably wondering where the story comes in.  The movie is 1:41, which means that there’s a lot of walking.  Why would a collector even be willing to make this offer?  There are a few side stories.  We learn about the families that Aiichiro and Fumiya never had.  (Aiichiro wanted a son and Fumiya was adopted.)  They also don’t take a direct path, stopping at places that Aiichiro visited with his wife.  After some prodding Fumiya even tracks down a girl he once knew.

It’s not the kind of movie Redbox would have and I don’t think I would have rented it from Netflix.  I probably would have kept putting off getting the movie on DVD.  It’s an odd movie, but it’s one of those movies where the oddities work.  You have two people thrown together by circumstance and they become more friendly as they travel together.  It’s almost like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, where there’s no real antagonist.  (Yes, Aiichiro could be seen as the antagonist, but he just doesn’t seem as mean and rough as a collector should.)

It’s the side stories and random events that make it worth watching.  In one scene, Fumiya follows some strange guy playing a guitar.  This almost gets him in trouble with Aiichiro.  (Fumiya is supposed to wait for Aiichiro while Aiichiro looks at some art he’d rather be missing out on.)  Aiichiro even has a place to stay, as he once posed as a woman’s husband for a wedding once, which is a whole other story.

I definitely recommend watching the movie, especially if you have Netflix streaming.  I could even see watching the movie a second time.  One of my brothers lived in Japan for three years, although not in Tokyo.  I may watch again the next time my he’s in town.

No comments :