Friday, February 13, 2015

The Light Shines Only There

The Light Shines Only There was Japan's entry for the Academy Awards. No idea why they chose this over Snow White Murder Case. Anyway, its a dark movie about three people who live in a small town in Hokkaido; Ayano Gou playing a unemployed bum and chanelling his inner Eita, Ikewaki Chizuru playing a prostitue and her former felon brother who Ayano Gou runs into at a pachinko parlour.

I like depressing movies and the story here is great. However there are a few problems. Firstly, its 20 minutes too long. I spent most of the first hour thinking about whether I should stop watching. Ayano Gou does his usual walk around in daze acting which fits his character but he cannot hold my attention the way someone like Ikewaki Chizuru can. The second problem is that there is barely any chemistry between Ayano Gou and Ikewaki Chizuru. This is not a romantic movie but there is no sexual tension between the two leads besides the numerous sex scenes.

So are there any reasons to watch this besides those who enjoy depressing shows? Ikewaki Chizuru is awesome. No, I'm not saying that because there is a lot of nudity in this movie. She is an awesome actress ever since I saw her in Summer Snow and Josee, the Tiger and the Fish so many years ago and she knows how to portray the desperation and despair of a person who is stuck in a no hope life. Why the hell isn't she in more doramas. The last thing I remember seeing her in was Shokuzai. Her character is the most complicated and interesting one in this movie and without her, it would completely fall apart.

I think The Light Shines Only There is an ok movie with a great performance from Ikewaki Chizuru but if you want something similar ie dark and raw, The Ravine of Goodbye is a much better movie.

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