The Last Days of the World - New York Asian Film Festival Review
By Ron Wilkinson Jun 28, 2011, 13:17 GMT
A fantastic ramble inside a world where there is no harm, but everything must count.
Director Eiji Uchida’s spirited “The Last Days of the World screened at this year’s New York Asian Film Festival. To say the least it was a valuable addition to the usual humdrum cop/corruption flicks. It is a thoughtful, atmospheric film and Jyonmyon Pe’s performance is one of the best around.
Jyonmyon plays Kanou, a troubled schoolboy of approximately 16-18 years of age. Classmates bully him perpetually. He seems destined to a life as a miserable loner. His father is a cuckolded white-collar worker who has just been laid off from his job. As the graduate of a third class university, he has little chance of getting anything better next time around.
Kanou’s mother is a sex addict who has no control over her random trysts with neighbors. When Kanou catches her in the act, she brushes him off, just as she brushes off his professional tool of a father. Mother, father and even the bullies at school are under the control of a world gone mad. It is time to strike back. It is time to do something real.
Fortunately for Kanou, a miniature man appears and reads him the modern day Sermon on the Mount. The sermon is that the end of the world is near and it is time to take action. With only a week or two left it is imperative that we all live the lives for which we are intended. It is important that we make things right between the universe and ourselves in the final days.
Kanou does the right thing: sex, drugs and rock and roll. Slight mistake, the drugs are out (bad for the health). But the sex and rock and roll are in. Make love, not homework is his newfound credo. Bullies and the defenders of the doomed world are dealt with using the baseball bat technique. Cops and bullies alike fall away into the distance as Kanou faces and then enters the world of tomorrow.
Kanou starts out a loner and ends up a loner, too. If not for that, this film might be compared to the hippie icon “Harold and Maude.” It is with respect that “Last Days” is compared to that film. There is a sense of beautiful resignation about the films.
There are secrets that are disclosed and understandings that coalesce however after we see these things we are saddened by them. Not saddened that they exist, we are saddened that they cannot last forever.
As the film progresses, Kanou has further visions on TV sets and, especially, wisdom from a talking dog. He defends a cos-player from road bullies and is invited to a cosplay session (an interesting introduction for viewers who have never seen one).
The cosplay meeting finds him in good company. Everybody present seems to agree that reality is very relative. All roads lead to the same conclusion; the world is ending soon and so it makes no difference what you do. The important thing is to do something that counts, at least to you. No fair procrastinating, you will only hurt yourself. The end is near.
Such atmosphere also existed in Jim Carry’s magnificent performances in “The Truman Show” and “eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Both of those films investigate illusions of reality as it relates to self-imprisonment and to the relationship of the dream state to the state we refer to as reality.
Towards the end of the film Kanou realizes he is immortal. Nobody can hurt him, even as the cops close in and the bullets fly. He is free to dictate the reality by which he wishes to live his life. As it turns out this is a two-edged sword.
Many people would not be up to the challenge. The actual determination of one’s reality, not to mention one’s life, is a heavy row to hoe. It might be easier to go to school, be bullied a bit, get that white-collar job and go with the flow.
Too bad it can never be entirely that way, at least for some. Take a look inside Kanou’s world and experience his last days with him. You will not be sorry.
Visit the movie database for more information.
Directed by: Eiji Uchida
Written by: Naoki Yamamoto and Eiji Uchida
Starring: Jyonmyon Pe, l Chieko Imaizumi and Ryô Iwamatsu
Release Date: New York Asian Film Festival--June 29, 2011
MPAA: Not Rated
Runtime: 96 minutes
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&C
COMMENT on The Last Days of the World - New York Asian Film Festival Reviewcomments powered by Disqus
Latest Headlines in Movies
- 1. 33 Postcards – Movie Review
- 2. Desperate Acts of Magic – Movie Review
- 3. Review: 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' a bold effort
- 4. Riddick trailer and production stills bring the action
- 5. Star Trek: Into Darkness – Movie Review