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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 42.86%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 7.14%

2 reviews, 2 user ratings

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by Kevin Thomas

"There are simply not enough movies with dancing robotic chairs..."
3 stars

There is a legend that says that if you meet your identical twin you are doomed to death. Iím guessing this doesnít count for actual identical twins, as that would be a pain in the arse. However, it does count if youíre Japanese and stuck in this movie. Well, half the time anywayÖ.

What starts with ominous visions of horror to come quickly dissolves into a fairly light hearted attempt at dark comedy. Although the hints that there may be something darker biding itís time in the wings remains itís mostly a comedy until, for the final act, the whole thing jumps head first into a riotous Rat-Race style farce. The story takes an odd path to say the least, and one that is not entirely successful. The change in tone is far less extreme than in something such as ĎThe Ordealí and doesnít detract from the overall atmosphere anywhere near as severely but itís still slightly odd. Not least because all three styles show considerable talent for making the scenes work, so had the director just run with one of them he could have been left with a much more powerful final product.

The tale concerns Michio Hayasaki, a brilliant scientist attempting to perfect a robotic chair with arms that are controlled with the power of the mind in an attempt to help paralysed accident victims. However, his frustrations at his failures suddenly seem less significant when, out of nowhere, his doppelganger turns up and starts having sex with his assistants, trashing his lab and basically being everything he wants to be.

Itís certainly an interesting concept, and Kiyoshi doesnít completely disregard the more interesting ideas in the mix, but he doesnít base the whole movie around them either. Itís a wise move and it pays off. Rather than write a self-indulgent and pretentious script with long diatribes about facing the embodiment of everything you wish you could be, he simply drops the an in and let you ponder over the rest. Hearing that the reason people who meet their Doppelgangers die is because they canít cope with seeing the physical embodiment of everything they wish they could be is a very dark little touch and is the only thing to stay with you after the credits.

The dialogue between our central hero and his alter-ego lookalike is as sharp as it is cutting, but when he has to play off someone who isnít himself the script starts to drag. The supporting cast are far from terrible, but they can never quite capture the awkward mistrust and suspicion of a man having an argument with a possibly evil duplicate of himself.

For what it is, itís a nice little tale of facing up to your own shortfalls and taking control of your life. It is simply a shame that it has elements of genres that are little extreme to really sit comfortably next to each other at times.

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originally posted: 11/05/04 23:15:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/10/04 Eve It was the worst movie I've ever seen! 1 stars
4/26/04 stenobabe lots of fun 4 stars
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  N/A (NR)
  DVD: 25-Jan-2005



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