a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Shuffle / シャッフル

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The insanely plotted Shuffle puts five characters together in a Tarantino-esque mousetrap. You’ve got the jock (Kenta Kamakari), the nerd (Muro Tsuyoshi), the brain (Kento Kaku), the bossman (Kamejiro Ichikawa) and the sensitive loner (Nobuaki Kaneko) stuck in a room, playing psychological games, arguing, pulling pranks, crossing and double-crossing. It comes down to a mess of stolen money – introduced early on by the boys robbing a bank wearing animal masks.  The film seems to be shot solely for effect – rather lamely at that – than for any sort of emotional, psychological or narrative logic.  Boys with guns, macho playacting and random violence rule here. The story unfolds in endlessly twisted revelations that ultimately leave the viewer exhausted rather than engaged. The heavy dose of misogyny and misanthropy that director Takuro Oikawa throws seems par for the course of many young male Japanese film directors of late. The one good thing about Shuffle is that everyone dies at the end. That gives some hope that there won’t be any chance of a sequel.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2011.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

October 4, 2011 at 12:56 pm

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