a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Ranbo to taiki / 乱暴と待機 / Vengeance Can Wait

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Popular playwright Yukiko Motoya has had developed a niche theatre career tweaking the mores of Japanese society with her topical trifles of daily life filled with oddball characters and quirky relationships. Her 2006 play, Ranbo to taiki, hits the big screen with Tadunobu Asano (Ichi the Killer) and Minami  (Battle Royale, Detroit Metal City) playing the lead roles, an odd couple – Hidenori and Nanase – living in together in cramped collusion. Their chaste relationship is stiflingly maintained by a guilty secret that he holds against her. He spends much of his time in the attic secretly watching her every action. . Enter yet another odd couple, Banjo (Tatakuki Yamada) and Azusa (Eiko Koike) and strange sparks begin to fly. In a largely set-bound piece, young hack director, Masanori Tominaga (Pandora no hako) let’s the scene chewing run amuck. Even Asano comes of rather unconvincingly as an otaku voyeur.  Despite some genuinely funny moments, between a meandering script and Tominaga’s serviceable though uninspired direction, Ranbo to taiki remains an exercise in shallow ideas and musings on contemporary life.

Originally published in EL Magazine, Oct. 2010

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