Home > Film, Reviews > DVD Review: Adrift In Tokyo (Ten Ten) – A film By Miki Satoshi

DVD Review: Adrift In Tokyo (Ten Ten) – A film By Miki Satoshi

A meditative modern day myth of depth and quality!

A bonding observational road movie, Adrift in Tokyo follows the path of Fumiya Takemura (Joe Odagiri) and Aiichiro Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura) who, due to present circumstances, cross swords with each other before they embark on a journey of self discovery and redemption.

Takemura is a perpetual student who has been studying law for eight years and is in debt to the tune of 840,000 yen. He has no family to speak of and no friends. He lives in a run down, untidy apartment which reflects as a kind of metaphor to the life he leads. The student’s life is placed in dire straits when, one evening, debt collector Fukuhara bursts into his home, rams a manky sock into his mouth, puts his arm around his neck and tells him he has 72 hours in which to pay up.

A day later, the two meet again, only this time Fukuhara propositions Takemura to accompany him on a walk through Tokyo in exchange for 1 million yen. Suspicious, and riddled with self doubt, yet desperate for the money, Takemura reluctantly accepts the ‘tough guy’s’ offer.

(Courtesy of Third Window Films)

Known for making meandering stories, Miki Satoshi has created an observational, quirky, comedic, mythological film that is a cross between The Count of Monte Cristo and Easy Rider on foot. With its focus on life lessons and friendship, it teaches the importance of looking at the world with microscopic perception and acting on opportunities when they arise and recognising that they often hide behind adversity. It is the type of film that you need to immerse yourself in and pay close attention too. However, the pace of Satoshi’s unconventional storytelling may take some getting used to, but the advantage the film has is its rewatchability, mainly because it’s character-driven.

Takemura comes across as a lost soul who is like a sail boat without its mast. He floats this way and that way in a directionless manor and cannot go in the direction he wants. His ‘call to adventure’ forces him to face the unknown – to sail into uncharted waters, as it were.

(Courtesy of Third Window Films)

Fukuhara is somewhat of a Shapeshifter, keeping Takemura guessing as to whether his character is that of a hoodlum or mentor. He is a man very sure of himself and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, not relying on the social niceties that Japan is known for, he’s very aggressive when he needs to be yet stoical – not to mention he has an extraordinary mullet. During their walkabout, Fukuhara confesses to Takemura that he murdered his wife. Filled with guilt and remorse, Fukuhara has his own debt to pay and decides to turn himself in at the Kasumagaseki police station, but not before showing Takemura that there is wonder within ordinariness.

Satoshi introduces his signature colourful oddball supporting characters in the form of Fukuhara’s wife’s co-workers who include Sendai, played by regular character actor Eri Fuse (Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers, Cutie Honey – The Live) who’s as delightfully screwy as ever.

(Courtesy of Third Window Films)

Adrift in Tokyo is a modern day fable of sort about making connections. Takemura grudgingly goes on a hero’s journey which could shape the rest of his life with Fukuhara acting as a surrogate father figure who leads by example whilst coming to terms with his own salvation. Both leisurely walk the main and back streets of Tokyo which acts as a backdrop suggesting that the journey is more important than the outcome.

The film is not without its humour which crops up as light relief, a kind of realism chopstick slapstick comedy that Ricky Gervais and Larry David would approve of.

To conclude, mythological stories are metaphors for the experiences of life; they’re anecdotes which guide us on how we should live and behave. Adrift in Tokyo is one of those kinds of stories and equally as entertaining.

Review written by Juan Carty

(Courtesy of Third Window Films)

Label: Third Window Films

Year of production: 2007

Certificate: PG

Running time: 101 mins

Genre: Comedy

Writer/Director: Miki Satoshi

Cast: Jo Odagiri, Tomokazu Miura, Kyoko Koizumi, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Eri Fuse

Adrift in Tokyo, Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers, and Instant Swamp are available individually or collectively as the Miki Satoshi Collection.

Related Posts:

Interview: Miki Satoshi – Inventive Director Of Adrift In Tokyo & Instant Swamp

DVD Review: Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers (2005) – A Film By Miki Satoshi

DVD Release: Crime or Punishment?!? – A film by Keralino Sandorovich!

Film Review: “Villain” – Based On The Award Winning Novel By Shuichi Yoshida.

Film Review: Underwater Love

DVD Review: Quirky Guys And Gals

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