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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 07.14.11] Japan movie review news comedy fantasy

Year: 2010
Director: Eiji Uchida
Writers: Eiji Uchida, Naoki Yamamoto
IMDB: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 4 out of 10

We all love a good tale of the coming apocalypse; it provides a nice backdrop for stuff to go wrong and for individuals to take advantage of their situations. When done well, even the low budget affairs can come out winners. I thought that might be the case at the start of Eiji Uchida's The Last Days of the World unfortunately, this film doesn't deliver.

Kanou is a jaded teenager at a crossroads. He dislikes school but is working hard in an attempt to enter a good university so he doesn't end up like his father, a grad from a third rate school who recently lost his job and can't find another. On yet another boring school day, Kanou wakes during a lecture to see a tinny man who explains that God has come to earth and is going to destroy it so the young man should go out and enjoy the last days before the end of the world. Disenchanted and bored, Kanou doesn't think twice about the offer. He tells his parents he's going to do his own thing, beats a fellow student with a baseball bat (not as exciting as it sounds), kidnaps the girl he's had a crush on for years and heads off into the world.

You'd think that with the world coming to an end, the duo would do something exciting like rob a bank or steal a really great car or something exciting and reckless. Alas, our teenaged protagonist is obsessed with sex and hence, that's all he wants to do: have sex with the girl of his dreams; even if she's unwilling. Here's where The Last Days of the World goes from strange to downright weird. They end up at the house of a blind woman where they have sex (complete with mayonnaise) before going back on the road the heading into more strangeness. When all is said and done, Kanou ends up at a commune where he preaches his end of the world scenario to a group of folks who party all day and night before the police finally catch up with him.

I'm not sure where to start with Uchida's film which feels like it's trying to live up to some of Takashi Miike's strangeness but where Miike manages actively engage the audience (even if that engagement is hate), Uchida never manages to achieve that. I was so bored by The Last Days of the World that I 20 minutes in I was hoping God really had landed on earth and would destroy it so that I could be free of the numbness. There are hints that this is supposed to be a comedy, a wickedly dark one at that, but the moments which, I can only assume, are supposed to be funny are simply awkward and flat. Admittedly this could be attributed to a cultural barrier but plenty of Japanese films have been successful at incorporating laughs and this one just doesn't deliver.

Though it's mostly a waste of time, there are some interesting tidbits to be gleaned from the film, most notably Jyonmyon Pe who portrays Kanou as a somewhat clueless teen who always looks like he's high or not really in the moment. The non-sensical aspects of The Last Days of the World paint it as a fun, irreverent approach to a familiar scenario but the film fails to deliver on its promise. Not only was I bored, I was so removed from the film that the questionable situations that follow the post-mayonnaise scene didn't even register with me. A boring disappointment.

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agentorange (10 years ago) Reply

"They end up at the house of a blind woman where they have sex (complete with mayonnaise)"

Really? Only 4 out of 10? That bit alone should make it a 7 ;)

Seriously though, this sounds like a great premise for a great film. Too bad this one's a bust.

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