You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rome Film Review: ‘Seventh Code’

This minor entry from Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a quirky one-hour caper designed as a showcase for singer-actress Atsuko Maeda.

Cast:

Atsuko Maeda, Ryohei Suzuki, Aissy, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Elena Andreeva. (Japanese, Russian, English dialogue)

“Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing scenes and a general air of unpredictability, “Seventh Code” barely manages to fill up its 60 minutes with a cohesive narrative. It’ll do best as a DVD extra, though fests will likely include it, as at Rome, with the helmer’s most recent short.

The opening moments are the film’s best, as a suitcase-toting Akiko (Maeda) chases after a car along the hilly streets of Vladivostok. She finally catches up with the driver, Matsunaga (Ryohei Suzuki), reminding him they met in Tokyo one month before and she never thanked him for dinner. He barely remembers the encounter and takes a powder. Akiko follows him to a business meeting, where two hoods kidnap her and dump her on the outskirts of town.

Sporting a Penske Racing jacket and other clothes she pinches from a house, Akiko wanders back into the city, where she finds a cafe run by Saito (Hiroshi Yamamoto) and his Chinese g.f., Hsiao-yen (Aissy).Though Saito is losing money, he lets her work as a waitress while she keeps looking for Matsunaga. Once she locates him, Akiko learns he’s involved in criminal deals with the Russian mob, centered around a ruined factory where klystron is stored.

Basically, the pic is one medium-sized red herring swallowing smaller red herrings as it moves along: The ruined factory is treated as if it’s a high-security fortress complete with state-of-the-art locking devices, and Akiko’s kookiness turns out to be a front. Kurosawa claims that he made “Seventh Code” as a vehicle to show off Maeda’s talents (though her thesping skills aren’t exactly put to the test), and that it’s his first action movie (stretching the definition). But while the helmer has definitely put aside the J-horror elements he’s known for, he’s also tossed away psychological acuity in favor of a superficial lark.

Norifumi Ataka’s production design reps one of the film’s more interesting elements, especially Matsunaga’s out-of-place apartment with its billowing orange curtains. Music is inserted in a self-conscious fashion, culminating with Maeda singing “Loneliness Is the 7th Chord” as she looks dreamily towards the camera.

Rome Film Review: 'Seventh Code'

Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (competing), Nov. 13, 2013. Running time: 60 MIN. Original title: "Sebunsu kodo"

Production:

(Japan) An AKS production in association with King Record Co., Nikkatsu Corp., Django Film. (International sales: Nikkatsu, Tokyo.)

Crew:

Directed, written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Camera (color), Shinya Kimura; editor, Koichi Takahashi; music, Yusuke Hayashi; production designer, Norifumi Ataka; costume designer, Masae Miyamoto; sound, Kenichi Fukimoto.

With:

Atsuko Maeda, Ryohei Suzuki, Aissy, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Elena Andreeva. (Japanese, Russian, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Mipcom: Sidse Babett Knudsen on her

    Mipcom: Sidse Babett Knudsen on her Conversion to TV Drama

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • Eddie Izzard Joins Australian Movie ‘The

    Eddie Izzard Joins Australian Movie ‘The Call Back’

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • Abbas Kiarostami

    APSA to Honor Late Abbas Kiarostami, Newcomer Ilgar Najaf

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • village rockstars TIFF

    Village Rockstars,' ‘Summer 1993’ win Mumbai Film Festival

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • Vivien Leigh

    Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From 'Feud: Bette and Joan' Writers (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • Bill Nighy

    Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy 'Made in Italy'

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

  • Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing

    Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

    “Seventh Code” is a minor entry in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s corpus, a quirky one-hour caper designed to showcase singer-actress Atsuko Maeda as a seemingly nutty young woman smitten by a shady guy in Vladivostok. Given the pic’s slight attributes, it’s all the more surprising Rome’s jury awarded Kurosawa the best directing prize. Notwithstanding a few amusing […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content