You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Accuracy of Death

Death doesn't take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych "Accuracy of Death."

With:
With: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Manami Konishi, Sumiko Fuji, Ken Mitsuishi, Takuya Ishida, Jun Murakami, Erika Okuda, Mitsuru Fukikoshi.

Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic comedy to yakuza thriller en route to a three-hankie finale, this whimsical, cleverly contrived trifle works best as a vehicle for Kaneshiro, whose involvement will rep pic’s strongest selling point for Western auds.

As revealed in the funeral sequence that opens the film on a somber note, Chiba (Kaneshiro) is not Death himself, but rather an agent of death (known as a Grim Reaper) sent to determine, through conversations with his assigned targets, whether they deserve the untimely ends for which they’ve been predestined.

His first mark is lonely, attractive Kazue (Manami Konishi), who’s being stalked at work by a sinister caller. She and Chiba collide in classic meet-cute fashion; his spacey, guileless demeanor and inability to understand common idioms (i.e. “pickup”) give this tale the flavor of a quirky romantic comedy, one that comes to an unexpected conclusion.

Chiba’s next job involves a middle-aged gangster (Ken Mitsuishi), his loyal protege (Takuya Ishida) and a pack of rival thugs. Counterbalancing this segment’s muted violence and grave resolution is the gentler tone of Chiba’s third assignment: He visits an elderly femme barber (Sumiko Fuji) who lives by the sea, in a lovely, elegiac episode that eventually lapses into shameless (and quite effective) tearjerking, bringing together the life-and-death themes addressed more delicately earlier on.

Like a leaner, lighter Nipponese take on “Meet Joe Black” (in which Brad Pitt played Death as a peanut butter-addicted robot), “Accuracy of Death” is a mostly engaging confection that gets considerable comic mileage out of Kaneshiro’s fish-out-of-water Chiba. The mellowest Grim Reaper imaginable, Chiba cheerfully mangles the local vernacular, sighs reproachfully when he accidentally paralyzes someone with his icy death-touch (hence the gloves) and grins his way through every bleak circumstance, impervious to despair. This is Kaneshiro’s first Japanese role since 2002’s “Returner,” and the actor (most recently seen in the Chinese historical epics “Red Cliff” and “The Warlords”) confirms and expands his range with a delightful, minor-key comic performance.

Adapted by Masaya Kakehi and Hirotoshi Kobayashi from Kitaro Isaka’s novel, the screenplay fastidiously repeats snippets of dialogue throughout, establishing the three individual stories as points on a continuum. Kakehi also handles the workmanlike but proficient direction, making subtle use of visual effects that further the film’s air of matter-of-fact enchantment.

While “Accuracy of Death” is the film’s official English-language title, the print reviewed also bore an alternate title, “Sweet Rain.” Tech credits are sharp.

Accuracy of Death

Japan

Production: A Nippon Television Network Corp., Robot Communications, Warner Entertainment Japan, Video Audio Project, Yomiuri Telecasting Corp., Mitsui & Co., Sony Music Entertainment production. (International sales: Nippon Television Network Corp., Tokyo.) Produced by Tohru Horibe, Takashi Kamikura, Takaya Kurata. Executive producers, Seiji Okuda, Shuji Abe. Directed by Masaya Kakehi. Screenplay, Kakehi, Hirotoshi Kobayashi, based on the novel "Shinigami no seido" by Kotaro Isaka.

Crew: Camera (color), Takahide Shibanushi; editor, Nobuyuki Ito; music, Gary Ashiya; production designer, Takeshi Shimizu; art director, Tsuyoshi Shimizu; sound, Ken-ichi Fujimoto; line producers, Kazuyoshi Ishida, Nobuya Kojima; associate producer, Masaki Koide; casting, Naomi Akashi. Reviewed at San Diego Asian Film Festival, Oct. 12, 2008. (Also in New York Asian Film Festival; Japan Cuts, New York.) Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Manami Konishi, Sumiko Fuji, Ken Mitsuishi, Takuya Ishida, Jun Murakami, Erika Okuda, Mitsuru Fukikoshi.

More Film

  • Alina Skrzeszewska, Director of 'Game Girls'

    Berlin Profile: Alina Skrzeszewska, Director of 'Game Girls' Doc Talks Skid Row

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • NANCY

    Andrea Riseborough's Thriller 'Nancy' Sells to Samuel Goldwyn (EXCLUSIVE)

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • Ridley Scott

    Ridley Scott Tells Aspiring Filmmakers They Have 'No Excuses'

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • Amazon Boards Marjane Satrapi's Marie Curie

    Amazon Boards Marjane Satrapi's Marie Curie Biopic 'Radioactive' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • ENT_LD_211116_02404m.jpg

    Berlin Film Review: '7 Days in Entebbe'

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Gregg

    Variety Lights Up London Honours Bash with 10 Brits to Watch

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

  • Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..Zuri (Forest Whitaker)..Photo:

    'Black Panther' Is A Legit Phenomenon, but Will It Be An Oscar Player?

    Death doesn’t take a holiday in the beguiling supernatural triptych “Accuracy of Death” — instead, he wears white gloves, has a jones for Asian pop and goes about his business with unflappable cool, as played by Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro. Drolly raising themes of love and luck, life and mortality as it morphs from romantic […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content