That’s It / ソレダケ / SOREDAKE (2015)
Director : Gakuryu Ishii
Screenwriter : Kiyotaka Inagaki
Cinematographer : Yoshiyuki Matsumoto
Cast : Shota Sometani, Erina Mizuno, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Jun Murakami, Go Ayano
Music : Bloodthirsty Butchers
Daikoko (Shota Sometani) is a homeless drifter who doesn’t have his own birthright paper and thus doesn’t “exist” in the legal sense. He’s a ghost as he says. Following along that same theme is the way he sometimes rises from a bad dream like a dead person suddenly rising up in a scary movie. The film starts off with him stealing some stuff (including a valuable hard drive) from a gangster’s locker. The gangster, Ebisu (Kiyohiko Shibukawa), sees him and starts to chase him. Daikoko temporarily escapes but is later captured and tortured. It is at this point that he meets a past lover, Nanmu (Erina Mizuno). The gangster wants the hard drive but Daikoko won’t reveal its location unless he’s told where he can find his father, whom he wants to kill.
The film starts out in black and white before it becomes full color somewhere around the half point of the film. During the initial on foot chase scene the camera interestingly focuses on the character’s faces which contort and sweat as they run. The shaky camera actually makes the chase interesting to watch. There are also scenes that blur in out and of focus when a certain group of gang members are walking around the streets. Cinematography is not something I notice a lot unless it’s really good or really bad. Usually if I don’t notice it, that’s a good thing and when I do notice it, it can be a toss-up but this film showed interesting use of camera angles and color. However, the cartoonish and violent finale uses obvious CG blood. This isn’t an action movie so do not expect to see a well choreographed gun shootout. It still manages to be engaging to view in a different way as the live action scenes are spliced with comic book / manga art. It’s obviously meant to be a bit comedic and over the top.
The music from Bloodthirsty Butchers is also very well suited to the grungy, angry tone of the movie. Actually that should be the other way around since the music inspired the film. The punk rock music is enjoyable and very evocative.
The acting is very intense, the actors portraying Daikoko and Nanmu show great chemistry as they argue. One funny exchange leads to Nanmu screaming at Daikoko that he hit her, to which he responds that he asked her to. She then giggles shyly with an “I know” admission and an exasperated Daikoko responds that she doesn’t make any sense. Nanmu clearly has a strong love for Daikoko based on a past that is never shown. But we do find out that they both had terrible fathers who either abused them and/or abandoned them. With the exception of Daikoko, who verbally describes past incidents with his father, the other characters aren’t given much back story but their actions and the strong acting help make the characters memorable. In essence, it’s a love story between two battered souls trying to attain better lives. Kiyohiko Shibukawa has a fun turn as the eccentric but dangerous gangster, Ebisu. Senju (Go Ayano) has a smaller role as a higher crime boss but the versatile actor doesn’t need much screen time to exude an even more dangerous menace. He’s less of a character and more of an obstacle/goal for Daikoko to overcome.
The finale is ultimately less interesting than everything that transpired towards it. Daikoko gets a bit lucky too. It’s one of those films where following its ending with its own title is absolutely appropriate. Although there was considerable talent behind this film, I wasn’t too familiar with anybody except Go Ayano. Although I later found out that I had seen other films with some of the other actors without knowing. Overall, I knew very little before watching the film and was pleasantly surprised by it. It’s engaging and sometimes unconventional in a good way. The film is definitely worth watching.