Saturday, November 04, 2006

Vital

Vital
Directed by; Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan, 2004

Asian / Drama, 86min

Distributed by: Happinet Pictures


Story:

After awakening from a coma Hiroshi [Tadanobu Asano] is told that his girlfriend Ryôko [Nami Tsukamoto] died in the accident. Suffering from amnesia he tries to put his life back together and when he decides to return to his medical studies he soon find a way to retrace his feelings and patch parts of his life together again, as the body he is to dissect for his four month anatomy study is Ryôko!

Me:
Dark, weird and rather poetic. Even though the themes in this movie are quite dark and brooding, Tsukamoto never goes too far and actually shoes us excessive gore or exposed corpses. Tadanobu is great as the introverted Hiroshi, and the two female leads Nami Tsukamoto as Ryôko and Ikumi who plays Kiki are great, and really play with their emotions on the outside of their skin, but are at some times terribly thin and look awfully fragile (But I guess that Tsukamoto is a dancer). The cinematography is amazing on this movie and each shot is so superbly composed it's easy to get lost in the imagery. But this should not come as a surprise as Tsukamoto is a notorious perfectionist. I prefer these kinds of well composed and beautiful framed images over his frequent and recent use of tinting the film to emphasise certain moods like in Snake of June for instance. I really like the suggestive subplot that Hiroshi parents have always wanted him to return to his doctor studies, as he left them when he was dating Ryöko and focused on a career as an artist instead, this leading them to having something to do with the fact that he ends up with Ryôko on his slab.

Vital will not be remembered as Tsukamoto's greatest piece of work, but it's rather thoughtful and is probably his most emotional movie so far, steering clear of genre trap falls and formula he manages to tell a rather dark and disturbing tale in a smooth and poetic manner.

Image:
16:9 Widescreen. Japanese and English Subtitles

Audio:

Dolby Digital 5.1, dts 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.1 and an audio commentary track by Tsukamoto, in Japanese which unfortunately are not translated.

Extras:

Teaser Trailer, theatrical trailer and TV Spot. Staff and crew texts

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