Monday, March 15, 2010
Jmovie review: Love Exposure/Ai no Mukidashi
After four hours of Love Exposure, I have yet to fully digest what I have experienced but I feel a strong need to try to put to paper what I have just seen. Jmovies has classics like Twilight Samurai and Shall we Dance but Love Exposure is something that I've never seen from jmovies before: an epic that actually works. A 4 hour movie that combines comedy and drama into one of the most riveting movies I have ever seen and that's just not because it has over 50 upskirt shots.
A true practitioner of tousatsu takes pictures regardless of weather.
Ninja skills in the 21st century.
Love Exposure tells its story through three protagonists. The first Yu, is the son a catholic priest who has an affair. Wrecked by guilt, Yu's father forces him to confess his sins everyday. Finding nothing to say, Yu begins to commit sins so that he he has stuff to confess to his father. Its not long before Yu is trained in the arts of tousatsu (upskirt shots) and becomes a natural at it. This is the most hilarious part of the show and I wish I had a master when I was running around shopping complexes trying to look up skirts in my highschool days. Basically Yu is your repressed catholic kid who discovers his true self by sinning and encounters challenges that threaten his love and family.
It is wise to watch Love Exposure with some tissues... for bleeding noses.
This is what the stairway to heaven looks like.
The second protagonist is Koike, a mysterious girl who has a keen interest in Yu after she becomes one of his tousatsu victims. To say more would be to spoil the story but she has an army of followers and her motives are mysterious. Suffice to say she has a dark past and darker intentions.
Some dry humping action is never bad but it all depends on the recipiant...
The third character is Yoko, played by the lovely Mitsuhima Hikari, formerly of Folder 5. I used to listen to Folder 5 a lot and only payed attention to Akina but my god, Hikari has blossomed into a very bijin woman and can she act. Yoko is the adopted daughter of Yu's father's former flame and havoc ensues when she enters Yu's life. Like the other two protagonists, she has issues with her past involving her father and has men issues.
So this is heaven...
Yu had a bet with his friends to see who could get the best panchira shot with the punishment being that the loser would have to wear female clothing and walk around town. Yu lost and while walking around as Sasori, saves Yoko from an attack by Koike's goons. Unfortunately, Yoko is smitten with Sasori and Yu is unable to reveal Sasori's true identity.
The mistaken identity part while a tad contrived is very funny and necessary as the story moves in the the darker second act. Suffice to say, Koike's plans are revealed and we get a lot of lesbian scenes. Yes, lots of hot yuri action. If this and pantsu shots are not enough to convince you to watch Love Exposure, nothing will.
It might be wiser to have two boxes of tissues. Its a long movie...
My hats off to Shion Sono for being able to conceive such an outrageous and fantastic tale. His only other movie that I have seen was Jisatsu Club which I never finished because of the gore. The execution of this movie is just fantastic. It doesn't have the generic jdorama look and is not a mediocre throw everything including the kitchen sink at it show like the Odoru Daisousasen series. Truly a visionary filmaker and I am eager to try his previous works including finishing Jisatsu Club.
No words can describe the give it to me scene. How can something be funny, disgusting and a turn on at the same time?
Mitsushima Hikari gives the best and most memorable performance. She is so freaking awesome that she really deserves an award. Her looks and her large amount of upskirt shots may have something to do with my enjoyment of her performance but no one can deny her acting in the intense scenes deserves praise. Which reminds me, her ex Folder 5 mate Akina also showed her panchira in Stand up!
Hikari, I'm sorry for not noticing you in Folder 5.
Looks likeMitsushima Hikari has gotten a lot of movie roles after Love Exposure and I look forward to all of them. However, I will not watch the first episode of Bloody Monday 2 for her. There is a limit to my masochism. Nishijima Takahiro does a great job as Yu. After all, he is the center of the movie and the audience goes through most of the journey from his point of view. He may be a singer in AAA but he's not a johnny and he can definitely act.
Truly one whacked out relationship.
Full reveal is never as fun as accidental panchira.
Love Exposure has won many awards and Twitchfilm called it the best movie of 2009. Can't argue with that. There is no reason not to watch it. I can't believe that 4 hours past by so quickly. Love Exposure is more than just an excellent movie. It is a huge milestone in Japanese cinema.