Director and screenplay: Sono Sion
· Ryoichi (Hasegawa Hiroki)
. Yuko (Asō Kumiko)
· the old (Nishida Toshiyuki)
· the manager (Shibukawa Kiyohiko)
Production: “Love & Peace” Film’s Partners
Running Time: 117 min
Release Date: June 27, 2015
Official Site: love-peace.asmik-ace.co.jp/sp/index.html
Ryōichi, an employee of a company that produces musical pieces, is a loser with the passion of music that secretly aspires to become a star. In the office where he is working is thrown by everyone except Yuko, a timid girl who seems to be sympathetic to him. Opposed by solitude Ryōichi buys a small turtle called Pikadon, who immediately becomes his best friend and confidant. One day he escapes his hand and slides down the water cup, reaches the sewers where he meets a mysterious old man and a group of abandoned toys and animals.
What strikes since the first lines of Love & Peace is the rhythm, a lot of things happen in the two hours of time and the two story plans, the one of the loser’s career and the underground world, in their parallel run they succeed keep the tension high. They are accustomed to a variety of different styles and works, but here it is in some ways unrecognizable, and it is not a valuation of value. For example, there is a wild and excessive element that often characterized its cinema, even the most recent. This sweetening especially in the first part gives the feature a light tone, also helped by music, which almost seems like a hybrid between Burton / Wes Anderson / Nakashima.
As said above, the story runs very well and very fast, the two hours pass practically without weighing and blinking and this is perhaps the most successful feature of the film. For the rest, Love & Peace does not offer other great reasons for surprise. The stylistic plan is perhaps where from I would have expected something more – in a movie like Tokyo Tribe. for example, light by its very nature, there was still a noteworthy author touch, the long and elaborate initial plan sequence, for example – although the sequences in the subsoil between animals and abandoned toys are, in their surrealism, the exception. Even history in itself and even in the madness of the director we know well, it continues its development along pretty predictable and predictable tracks and the sense of expectation so well built in the first part of the feature film – maybe I never had created a so successful narrative tension – it fades and water in the predetermined of the last part where the knots of history are solved.
The story, written by the director himself about 25 years ago, is a very personal re-elaboration of the tale of forgotten toys in classic kaiju eiga sauce, with a parodistic splash to biopic rock. Although it is a fantasy-rock-tokusatsu, it is interesting to see how they can link ties with news and news, once again nuclear, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the obsession with the stage for the event.
They are often very capable of getting the best out of their players, let’s remember that he was the only one to launch Young Todays Shota, Nikaidō Fumi and Mitsushima Hikari, just to name the most famous cases. This time, however, the performance is normal. Of course, Hasegawa Hiroki is good at interpreting the character of the loser who becomes a rock star, always keeping in mind an imbalanced inner weakness. Even veteran Nishida Toshiyuki, here in a tailor-made role for him, does his duty but does not shine too much. In the end, the best performances are the Japanese (Japanese) voices of the toy cat, the doll Maria and the robot.
Ultimately, Love & Peace is a movie that by its nature tends to break it down. There are those who consider it one of the best of I am, like Love Exposure, Suicide Circle or Cold Fish, and who, like the writer, thinks that it is a good film but not even, albeit, far from the best of the Japanese director’s work.
[Katsuyuki Nakanishi ]