Review: ‘River’

The tyranny of past over present is taken for a cruise in "River," a Japanese crimer that initially flows with tantalizing twists but eventually runs dry. Former scripter Takayuki Suzui helms with style and intelligence, but shows strain as narrative hits the rocks. Minor fantasy elements may push this into fest slots beyond usual Asian sidebars.

The tyranny of past over present is taken for a cruise in “River,” a Japanese crimer that initially flows with tantalizing twists but eventually runs dry. Former scripter Takayuki Suzui (“Man-Hole”) helms with style and intelligence, but shows strain as narrative hits the rocks. Minor fantasy elements may push this into fest slots beyond usual Asian sidebars, but ultimately the mix of drama and comedy is disorienting.

Hokkaido cop Sasaki (Yo Oizumi) is haunted by the death of a woman during a hostage incident, while the dead woman’s fiance (Ken Yasuda) seeks revenge on the cop. The cop, fiance and the criminal who caused the woman’s death all show up at a school reunion, where they’re joined by other alumni, including Yokoi (Takuma Otoo). Yokoi proposes a scam on a pharmaceuticals firm which has developed a memory erasing drug. As the caper gets under way, pic cross-cuts between the present day and the school days, but the various threads fail to merge in a meaningful manner. Perfs are engaging, though Chikau Satou steals the show with his jarringly comic role as a ramshackle p.i. Tech credits are good.

River

Japan

Production

An Index Core production. (International sales: Creative Office Cue, Sapporo, Japan.) Produced by Eiichi Aso, Ayumi Suzui. Directed, written by Takayuki Suzui.

Crew

Camera (color), Hideo Fujiwara; editors, Suzui, Toshihiko Kojima; music, Suzui; art director, Yoshio Nakahara. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (New Currents, competing), Oct. 3, 2003. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Yo Oizumi, Ken Yasuda, Takuma Otoo, Chikau Satou.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading