Monday, 10 January 2011

Just watched: The Seaside Motel

This film from 2010 follows the events of people staying in four rooms at the Seaside Motel (which is actually in the mountains) during one evening. The main stories involve a salesman who falls in love with a call girl who comes to his room by mistake, and two hoodlums interrogating someone who owes the yakuza money. There are other stories which aren’t so important except how they interact with these two, and they do so in some unlikely ways.

As a comedy, it’s mostly quite understated. Ikuta Toma and Aso Kumiko are impressive as salesman and prostitute respectively, and they have a great on-screen chemistry as the two of them try to work out if the other person is being genuine.

Other storylines have quite a different tone. For example, the scene with the guy in debt to the yakuza is played out like a typical gangster movie – the room is darker, with a lot of close-ups of sweaty, tense faces, as they await the arrival of the torturer (played by Nukumizu Youichi in a nice change to his usual roles) to finish off the interrogation.

In the end, I found myself wishing that the story had focused more on Toma and Kumiko. Although the other storylines were interesting and they way they crossed over each other was cleverly done, the real story was between these two. As such, it was an entertaining film and it was nicely shot and acted, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

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