If I have not mentioned it already, I like to spend my days watching a movie. I do not have a certain preference as long as the story, the acting, the dialogue and filming are compelling. However, I do have a tendency to lean towards movies that are more philosophical, emotional, or have something special.
The movie of this week is Kids Return. It is a 1996 film, and the director is Takeshi Kitano. If the name tells you nothing, maybe other screenplays will tell you something: A Scene at the Sea (1991), Zatoichi (2003), Sonatine (1993) and Hana-bi (1997).
The movie is a bit softer and easier than what I usually watch but nonetheless is simply adorable. Do you know that feeling that you get when you think about sweet memories and dreams that you used to have? Or that feeling when you reflect upon your life and see if your choices align with what you wanted to do?
That is exactly the sort of emotion that is conveyed. For me, it is done perfectly. The plot consists of two drop-out teens: Shinji and Masaru. They are average teenagers: pranksters, bullies, and they don’t like school. The film also has other characters: a washed-up boxer, yakuza, a timid teenager who falls in love with a waitress.
What is great about it?
I like characters that are written well and have an astounding performance. I emphasize this because if you have bad acting and your character lack’s development, the plot may feel at times less compelling and shaky.
At first glance, the characters may seem stereotypical, but they do have depth. Masaru and Shinji are a charming duo, and you can also see how they evolve separately. They act like outcasts and bullies, but if you take a closer look you will see that their motivations for doing it are well-founded. In a way, they are round characters that may surprise you with their decisions. I was a bit reluctant at the beginning, but as the movie went by I started to like them and empathize with them.
The second thing that I really liked was the atmosphere. The director captured the mundanity of life without taking away the subtleness of it. It has a nostalgic or melancholic vibe around it. Sometimes, the world is miserable, hopeless, but it is also cheerful and funny. Of course, it is full of memories.
A thing that kept coming back to me throughout the movie was friendship, but not your stereotypical flower-power friendship. I believe that one of the good things about this movie is the message. A part of this message is friendship, but not as in why friendship is important, why you should have friends, what is the miracle of friendship etc. Simply, friendship. The feeling of missing your friend, the motivation, the goals you have with a friend, or spending time with your friend. I would not say the rest of the message, as I do not want to spoil the whole movie.
To put it simply, it is weirdly touching.
What are the not-so-good parts of the movie?
Generally, I find it hard to point out what are the flaws of a movie that I consider good. I think that is hard to make a movie that would get all the things right. From my experience, the director and the crew sacrifice some things to get what they want. When you write a review or a critique: where do you draw the line between qualities and flaws? What is the line between being biased and unbiased?
Overall, I think that the pacing and the story were good, but the second part of the movie felt a bit stretched. Like the movie got stuck. However, this might be just me.
Another thing was the repetitiveness of the theme. The movie has a specific sound that keeps coming back when something important must happen. I did not like that it was so obvious. But then again, it might be just me.
The other aspects that I have not discussed I just found them good. Like, the camerawork is nice, it puts emphasis on emotions
I recommend this movie if you want to chill or watch it with your friends. It is engaging, and it only has 1 hour and 48 minutes. Or maybe, you just want to have a good time on a Sunday afternoon.
You might also want to check this movie out.