Wednesday, October 17, 2012
For Love's Sake: Takashi Miike
What a versatile director Miike is. Having made his name with Yakuza style films, he has tried other genres to greater or lesser success. This is a part musical reworking of what is called Romeo and Juliet but this is misleading. The central story is of a rich senior schoolgirl's love for a punk. She sees him in the middle of a street brawl which she unsuccessfully tries to stop but recognises him as the boy who saved her years earlier from a skiing accident which left him with a scarred forehead. This incident opens the film in anime style and also features at the end. She persuades her father to get him into her very exclusive school and to pay for his being there but this does not work and he ends up in a downbeat vocational school in which she enrols even though she was head girl of her former school. Out of her depth she is followed by one of the senior boys who ineffectually tries to protect her. The action is interspersed with songs, the one featuring her parents being delightfully funny and the other blending in with the action for the most part. The girls in the second school seem to be led by a rather large bully, this being the comedic relief role, though the real leader is another girl who takes up with the hero. She has a number of the boys under her thumb including one who is bigger and stronger than the rest. The finale sees this boy fight the hero for the second time with the female gang leader intervening by throwing knives. Although good prevails, the heroine is badly hurt and taken to hospital. In the closing scene, our hero is knifed in the back by a teacher he had humiliated but continues to the hospital to die in her arms. Miike has an excellent eye for scene composition and, although I thought the middle section would have benefitted from either being tighter or possible had more music in it, my overall reaction is that this is a very welcome return to top form.