Thursday, June 12, 2014
THE LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (2003)
Asano Tadanobu is a quiet loner. He seems to think a lot about killing himself, but it doesn't look like he's serious. It's more of a HAROLD AND MAUDE-style fascination with death and the inconvenience of living. The biggest inconvenience of his life is his yakuza brother who is constantly crashing at his house. During one visit an assassin kills the brother. Asano ends up killing the assassin, so now he has two dead bodies in his apartment. Later on he is contemplating jumping off a low bridge when he spots a cute girl he saw earlier at his bookstore job. As he's looking at her a car runs her over and kills her. Asano ends up bonding with the dead girls free-spirited sister and going to stay at her house since he's scared to go back to his.
There's not much to the story, but all the same I really enjoyed THE LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE. The main reason is Asano Tadanobu. A lot of actors, in a quiet role like this, would have overplayed the part and looked foolish or underplayed it and just stood there with a blank look on their face the entire movie. Tadanobu plays it perfectly. The main emotional tone of this film rides on his body language and facial expressions. That said, I wish he had been given a strong female actress to work with. The girl is this movie does an okay job, but the film would have definitely benefited from a better actress.
Enjoyable slow pace, beautiful photography, a super delightful reference to a previous Tadanobu/Miike collaboration. Recommended.