Japanese Title: Heruta Sukeruta
Release Date: 14th November 2012 (Japan)
Running Time: N/A
Director: Mika Nanigawa
Writer: Arisa Kaneko (Script), Kyoko Okazaki (manga)
Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Gou Ayano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Mieko Harada, Sho Aikawa, Junki Tozuka, Anne Suzuki, Hirofumi Arai
When I originally watched Ghost Train I remember being distinctly unimpressed by a lot of things. Lead actress Erika Sawajiri was not one of them. She actually gave a good performance but her career seemed to have stalled after it. Well she is back after a hiatus of nearly five years and in a stunning looking movie with a great cast.
Ririko (Sawajiri) is a vision of perfect beauty. What the public does not know is that her beauty is derived from multiple cosmetic surgeries and a lot of medication. To maintain her beauty and position she needs to keep taking medication and getting surgery but when the clinic that performs her surgery comes under investigation for medical ethics from authorities led by Prosecutor Asada (Omori) Ririko finds her career on the brink of calamity. With pressure mounting, Ririko’s body begins to suffer and her emotions and career, and sanity begin to fall apart.
The director Mika Ninagawa is an art/fashion photographer who turned her hand to directing films and made an impressive debut with the gorgeous 2007 title Sakuran. The screen writer, Arisa Kaneko, has worked on a diverse range of titles like Train Man: Densha Otoko and Welcome Home, Hayabusa. Here she is adapting Kyoko Okazaki’s psychological manga which was originally released in 2003. The source manga was the Grand Winner of the 2004 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (very impressive!).
The film looks set to follow the manga’s story which showed the dark side of the Japanese entertainment industry which Erika Sawajiri knows all about in her career as her comeback in this follows numerous run-ins with a hostile media who brewed up a series of stories after scenting scandal surrounding the news that her original talent agency was dropping her. Unfortunately the publicity work surrounding Helter Skelter has affected Sawajiri’s health and she has had to put her work on hold. According to her agency, Avex Management, she will wait to decide whether to attend the film’s Japanese premiere. Here’s hoping that she gets better soon.
The film will be released theatrically in Japan on the 14th of July.