Adrift in Tokyo (2007)
As far as Asian film goes, Adrift in Tokyo could very well be the exact antithesis of the movie we reviewed last, 3 Idiots.
Adrift in Tokyo (転々, tenten) follows hapless (and heavily in debt) student Fumiya (Odagiri Joe) when he meets loan shark enforcer Fukuhara (Miura Tomokazu). Fukuhara promises to forgive Fumiya’s debt if he agrees to take a walk with him around Tokyo.
Many modern Japanese movies that I have seen, such as Hana and Alice, were very light on plot, and Adrift in Tokyo is definitely no exception. The audience simply follows Fumiya and Fukuhara as they simply walk around Tokyo, taking part in various activities and interacting with all sorts of different characters, from a girl cosplaying as Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Ayanami Rei (given the nature of this blog, should it be a surprise that I recognized the character?) to a shop owner who knew karate.
As the movie progresses, we learn more and more about the two characters. Fumiya narrates the movie, and we learn more about his past and how he wound up in the situation he was in. It doesn’t take long for Fukuhara to reveal himself to not at all be like what he gave his initial impression to be like.
Adrift in Tokyo managed to somehow be the most understated comedy I’ve seen in a while, and it pulls off its gags successfully thanks to Odagiri and Miura’s acting. It’s a good thing too because the movie had no real plot to fall back on, so it was up to the characters to keep the movie going.
I really appreciated director Miki Satoshi’s approach of “less is more” when making Adrift in Tokyo. It worked as a tour of some interesting characters.