Review: ‘Golden Slumber’

Overlong but involving conspiracy thriller that could be excavated for an international version.

Somewhere in the overlong “Golden Slumber” is an involving conspiracy thriller that could still be excavated for an international version. As it stands, Yoshihiro Nakamura’s adaptation of Kotaro Isaka’s novel dawdles so much during its first 100 minutes that, when the momentum starts to click, many auds will have given up the chase with the pic’s luckless hero. Late January release took a handsome $11 million in its first five weeks, but will doze outside Nippon.

Nakamura’s previous adaptation of an Isaka novel (“Fish Story”) managed to translate the author’s multicharacter leanings into a finally cohesive movie. But “Slumber,” with its Hitchcockian slant of an ordinary Joe, Aoyaga (Masato Sakai), unwittingly cast as the patsy in a high-up assassination of Japan’s prime minister, demands greater rigor on the bigscreen. As Aoyaga goes on the run, his ex-g.f. Haruko (Yuko Takeuchi), as well as an old cop and a hospital patient among others, help him turn the tables on his all-seeing pursuers, prior to a clever finale. En route, however, the humor isn’t quirky enough — a hooded serial killer is also on the loose — and pacing is slack. Tech package is fine.

Golden Slumber

Japan

Production

A Toho Co. release of an Amuse Soft Entertainment, Toho, CJ Entertainment, Yahoo Japan, DY, KDDI production. (International sales: CJ, Seoul.) Produced by Yasushi Utagawa, Hitoshi Endo, Hisashi Usui. Executive producers, Tomoaki Harada, Minami Ichikawa. Directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura. Screenplay, Nakamura, Tamio Hayashi, based on the novel by Kotaro Isaka.

Crew

Camera (color), Takashi Komatsu; editor, Hirohide Abe; music, Kazuyoshi Saito; art director, Toshihiro Isomi; costume designer, Miwako Kobayashi. Reviewed at CinemaxX Potsdamer Platz 10, Berlin, Jan. 23, 2010. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama; Hong Kong Film Festival.) Running time: 140 MIN.

With

Masato Sakai, Yuko Takeuchi, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Gekidan Hitori, Nao Omori, Sango Kitamura, Ken-ichi Takito, Shihori Kanjiya, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Saki Aibu, Fumio Ito, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Zheng Longjin, Raita Ryu, Teruyuki Kagawa.

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