Saturday, 31 March 2012

Recommended: Moteki

This film is a sequel to the TV drama of the same name. It is set one year after the series, and in that time or hero Fujimoto Yukiyo, played as before by Moriyama Mirai, has not been able to find love. He gets a new job where is boss is his former rival in love Sumi-san (the suave but lecherous older man played perfectly by Lily Franky) and thus begins a new moteki (period when someone is suddenly attractive to the opposite sex).

This time, things are a bit different. Like the TV series there are still four female lead roles, but in the film he only seems serious about one, and so the film is mostly about whether or not he can mess that up. And he's certainly insensitive and confused enough to say the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time.

The film has two main strengths. The first is Nagasawa Masami who puts in the best performance I've seen from her. She's often been in good programmes in the past, but never quite been the best thing about it. This time, however, she absolutely rules. She's funny, sexy and sensitive and quite unlike her previous performances.

The second strength is the music. The TV series was notable for the soundtrack, but this time the music has been pushed forwards such that at times it almost seems like a musical. Falling in love is demonstrated by a three-minute dance performance with Perfume, and a song at the karaoke bar had the lyrics printed on screen so you could, if you wanted, sing along too. Lyrics reflect the mood and the emotions of the scene and sound and vision are woven together so perfectly, I wanted to punch the air and shout "This is what film-making should be like!"

Perhaps that's an over-statement, but I was so impressed with the feel of the movie that I felt a little exaggeration wouldn't hurt. And why haven't I heard of the band N'shukugama Boys before? They supplied the ideal soundtrack to the film's finale.

It's a shame there wasn't more of Naka Riisa, but I enjoyed what few scenes she had. Aso Kumiko is heart-breaking as the romance that never was, and although Yoko Maki is on the posters as if she's a potential love interest, she's really just a co-worker who despairs of Yukiyo's attempts a getting a woman.

So, this is a great film for a wide variety of reasons. You can understand it just fine if you haven't seen the TV series, so there's no reason not to track this down and take a look.

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