Saturday, June 09, 2012
Jmovie review: A Ghost of a Chance / Suteki na Kanashibari
I was excited to watch this cause its a Mitani Koki movie. The writer of Shinsengumi, Ai Kotoba wa Yuki, Furuhata Ninzaburo, Souri to Yobanaide, Osama no Restaurant, The Magic Hour and my personal favourite, Radio no Jikan/ Welcome back Mr McDonald. Radio no Jikan is one of my favourite Japanese movies ever and I should have realised it was from the same writer as as Furuhata Ninzaburo cause its got the same theatre feel.
Fukatsu Eri is Emi, the daughter of a very famous lawyer who has been doing pretty badly in her cases and her boss played by Abe Hiroshi gives her this case that no one wants to take as her last chance. The accused, played by Kan who wrote most of my favourite Mano Erina songs stands accused of murdering his wife. However, he has an alibi and the alibi is that he was being held by a ghost at a remote inn. Emi goes off to investigate the inn and runs into a ghost Rokubei and its pretty much about getting a ghost to testify in a murder trial.
First off, there are many funny gags and a whole line of famous cameos. There is your typical Mitani Koki feel good story about the underdog. The bad thing is that it is held together by a very flimsy story because the ghost, Rokubei is merely a witness to prove the defendant's alibi and most of the second half is about getting the court to accept his testimony.
The other bad thing is the same problem I had with Ano Hana. This ghost can blow and pin people down yet the script resorts to funny stuff for him to prove his existence. I understand budgetary limitations but there are no scenes where people go through him. There's this scene with a historian where they are sort of next to each other but not because the movie has established that he can have physical form and yet play it as if he is corporeal but they don't have money for the effects.
Nitpicking? Yes but for the premise of an old ghost to work, everything that follows must make sense. Its not really the main reason why A Ghost of a Chance fails though. Its overly long and too disconnected. Its got interesting side stories but the main story is not strong enough to support them all.
Did Mitani Koki peak with Radio no Jikan? Even for Mitani Koki fans, I would suggest avoiding this. Scabbard Samurai does a much better job with putting more subdued gags together with a strong story that build up to a great finish. Everything in A Ghost of a Chance feels tacked on, including the ending.
Edit: Why the change in template? The recent comments wasn't working and because I was using a really old template, I could not modify the widget under the new interface. Changed to a new template and guess what? The follower widget doesn't show up as well! Gah, this is doing my head in!