Monday, November 22, 2010

Jmovie review: Solanin

Solanin is a movie for the early 20s audience and is based on a pretty successful manga, from what I can gather. Meiko (Miyazaki Aoi) and Taneda are recent university graduates who are currently drifting in life. Meiko works as and OL and does not enjoy her job because her boss is always harassing her. Taneda meanwhile is jobless and is supported by Meiko because he plays in a band with two uni-mates; the drummer is the son of a drugstore owner and the bassist is still in uni because he knows that one he starts working, his life is over.

The first hour of Solanin is pretty much a lot of early 20 angst. Meiko wants to quit her job but is worried about the future. Taneda doesn't know what he wants and is just drifting through the life in a daze, living the perfect lifestyle that I can only dream of. He doesn't like it when Meiko tries to move him move forward because who wouldn't want to continue their uni lifestyle where you actually have time to do nothing. Basically Taneda and co don't want to let go of the band because it represents their youth and yet the band cannot take them where they need to go.

The first hour didn't work for me primarily because there's not much chemistry between Meiko and Taneda. You get two people at the lowest point of their relationship so its understandable but then there's way too much angst and whining that I don't really care about the characters. I'm just watching the movie thinking what's the point of the story? Then 80 minutes in the movie, we finally get the Solanin is about.

I'd be crying tears of happiness too if I were taking Miyazaki Aoi for a ride.

Taneda dies in a motorbike accident. Yes! Now I have to just get past the crying and moping part and then we get to Miyazaki Aoi's awesome performance of AKFG's Solanin. So here's Solanin in a nutshell, 80 minutes of whining, 20 minutes of crying and then final 20 minutes of Meiko learning to play with Taneda's band so she can give an awesome performance at the end.

If only they had cut at least 20 minutes of whining. I know its important for the second half but it was just a constant 'woe is me, I don't put effort in my band, don't have a job and live off my girlfriend'. Essentially the movie was supposed to build up Taneda and his relationship with Meiko before killing but to me it was already lifeless to begin with.

Despite my whining and negative comments (something in common with Taneda), I still this its a watchable movie saved by the awesome though slightly cliched second half, supporting characters and of course Miyazaki Aoi.   


maiku said...

I spent most of Solanin thinking, "This is crap, but I can't stop watching because Miyazaki Aoi is so good." She carries the film. I love it when actors can do that but hate it when they have to.

I didn't really get the characters. Yeah, they were unhappy and disillusioned because they graduated and the band didn't work out. But they were still together and practicing. Seemed like they were lost simply because that's how young people feel after college.

The Taneda/Meiko relationship was a mess. I'm not sure why he kept screwing it up (other than being disillusioned). I wasn't convinced he'd get it right if he'd lived.

I thought the bassist did a good job. Turns out he's from Sambomaster.

If you haven't seen it, The Shonen Merikensack was pretty funny. More Miyazaki Aoi with Kudo Kankuro writing/directing.

Akiramike said...

Didn't recognise the Sambomaster basist without his beard! Yeah I've watched Shonen Merikensack. I enjoy the quirkiness and felt it needed to be edited better like Solanin but I didn't have any strong opinions on it to be able to write a review.

Anonymous said...

Taneda was NOT jobless... one of the main points was that he quit his job to pursue his dream (to be a professional musician).

but nevertheless manga was better.