This film from 2010 follows the lives of four people (two male, two female) who live in the same apartment. It could almost be called the opposite of Last Friends. While that was heavy on the emotions, this is more distant and cooler. There are no romantic ties between the housemates and, because that isn’t a concern, the film can tell a more original story.
There are two mysteries running through the film. One is about a series of murders that have happened in the local area, and the other is about what their secretive neighbours are doing. There are other storylines, and they overlap, get dropped, and then picked up again in a very naturalistic, flowing way of story-telling. Sometimes I wondered if any of this was improvised.
The acting’s great. Keisuke Koide is unrecognisable from his role as the big-afro’d timpani player in Nodame Cantabile, Karina convinces as a slobbish fag-hag illustrator, Shihori Kanjiya is perfect as the passive, forgotten girlfriend of a mostly absent boyfriend. And Tatsuya Fujiwara impresses in his role as the uptight one. I’ve seen him in Death Note, Snakes and Earrings and now this. He’s building up quite an impressive body of work.
Perhaps this film appeals to me because I was a part of generation X, and grew up with Nirvana, Love & Rockets (the comic, not the band) and Slackers and this film has exactly that quality. It’s somewhat emotionless (but you still like and care for the characters) and it avoids all the usual cliches of storytelling such as falling in love or loud arguments. Instead it prefers to give the viewer a slower, perhaps more disturbing, realisation of what’s really going on.