Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jmovie review: Heaven's Door

Lolicons, this is not what you think it is.... maybe.

Thanks to anonymous who left a comment for my review of Ramen Girl for introducing me to Heaven's Door. It hasn't turned out at FSC and FSS, two places where I get my Japanese movies from. Heaven's Door in a nutshell is a two terminally ill people go on a trip buddy movie. Basically people with nothing to live for not caring for the consequences of what they do.

She reminds me of Matsu Takako for some reason...

Nagase Tomoya is Masato, a part time mechanic who is fired from his job when the result of his health check is made known to his employer. At the hospital, he meets Harumi (Fukuda Mayuko), a 15 year old girl who has been hospitalised since she was 7. Masato introduces Harumi to tequila shots and discovers that Harumi has never been to the beach. So with only days to live, Masato decides to bring her to one and thus begins their long road trip.

Heaven's Door is a remake of a the 1997 German film Knockin' on Heaven's Door and judging from the reviews on IMDB, a pretty good movie. In fact, Heaven's Door feels like an European arthouse movie. There are a lot of slow scenes which are intimately and quiet. However, this style of movie requires very good acting, something Nagase Tomoya is not capable of doing. His limited acting skills notwithstanding, I think he should not try to make his character Masato look kakoii. Masato is supposed to be a 'loser'. A character on the fringes of society who during the course of the movie gets the audience's empathy not because of his illness but from his character and actions. He needs to be more of an everyman rather than guy with super gelled up hair and facial hair that does not grow in 3 days. Tomoya excels in exaggerated anime acting but Heaven's Door is a movie where subtlety is required.

Yes, the original German movie featured two men instead of a guy who talks like Tomoya's yakuza roles and a loli but the movie fails to humanise the characters. Somehow I feel like I'm looking at them from 100 meters away instead of being next to them on this journey to the beach. Forget about the logic of them taking so long to find a beach in Japan. Japan's a freaking island ffs. There are some illogical parts in the movie but it would all be forgiven if the character part of the movie worked. The bond between Masato and Tomoya is lacking and the script just doesn't know how to develop it.

Fukuda Mayuko once again shows that she is THE best young actress in Japan. I like that she does a lot of movies. It establishes her as an actress instead of an idol/talento. I can sort of see what they are trying to do with her story arc. At the end, she is the more adult of the two because she has come to terms with her fate but the writing is just everywhere. The jokes are not funny and the character arcs are almost nonexistent. Whatever that the original movie had, it has not been transplanted into this remake which makes me want to see it all the more. Strictly for Fukuda Mayuko fans.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the review ^^
i'm interrested in watching this movie, is it subbed??

Abdel said...

I saw this movie yesterday thanks to you. I didn't knew fukuda Mayuko until i saw this movie, really suprised by her acting!

sevmpe said...

I think Nagase Tomoya is not _that_ bad in this film. It's just that he pales in comparison to Fukuda Mayuko. She has the charm and the talent. By the way, she reminded me (physically) of a young Tanaka Rena in Ganbatte Ikimasshoi.