A film like “Shady” simply must be seen. It will grapple with your emotions and when the house lights are put on in the cinema you will want to discuss the plot, the way that Watanabe creates meta references to other films, dupes us into watching a narrative that refuses to follow traditional paths and ends on a rather unsettling note. You will want to discuss how he always finds a way to disrupt meaning and the way the actresses are so perfect in their roles that other actors or actresses could not do what they did. You will want to compare “Shady” to other school films or relationship dramas and probably find them lacking in some way. You will want to discuss “Shady” and re-experience it to confirm what you just saw.
Genki Jason Genkinahito’s J Film Review (March 10th, 2014) – Yeah, I’m quoting myself!
I watch a lot of films and this one was a real stand-out that held me in its narrative grip from start to finish thanks to the excellent writing and direction of Ryohei Watanabe and the performances of lead actresses mimpi * β and Izumi Okamura. It left me breathless and tense throughout its running time. It is an example of perfect filmmaking. I loved it. I loved it so much, it took the top spot of my best films of the year! It even beat Sion Sono’s latest feature, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” which is mind-boggling when you consider I’m a huge Sono fan. How good is the film? Am I over-hyping it? Here are quotes from reviews written by others who have seen “Shady” – there is a lot of praise the film and its director Ryohei Watanabe! A word of warning, some reviews give a little away.
You can listen to music composed by the talented and performed by lead actress mimpi * β while looking!
Shady takes the often-explored scenarios of ill-fated friendship down a seriously troubling avenue with its quietly gripping mix of character study and insidiously creepy atmospherics.
… the convincing performances by its lead actresses keep the emotional stakes at fever pitch.
Due to its compactness and the likelihood that Watanabe will surely move on to projects that are wider in scope after winning the Entertainment Award at the PIA Film Festival, it’s tempting to describe Shady as a successful ‘calling card’, but it can be better summarized as a razor sharp genre-splicer that should turn out to be a future cult favourite.
John Berra Vcinemashow (March 15th, 2014)
For such a young filmmaker, Watanabe has put together a tightly edited, suspenseful film. Although I might have gone a different route with the resolution of the film, it was a delight to see such a well executed film under 2 hours in length
Cathy Munroe Hotes Nishikataeiga (October 01st, 2013)
Ryohei Watanabe’s Shady is the work of a seriously talented emerging filmmaker. Even though this isn’t as fashionable as the works coming from some other young Japanese film-makers, if he keeps up this strength of conviction it won’t be long before Watanabe is being compared to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s of the world.
Rob Simpson thegeekshow (September 30th, 2013)
It’s quite hard to believe that former commercials director Ryohei Watanabe is only 25, as “Shady” really is an incredibly assured debut feature.
“Shady” really is an amazing debut for Ryohei Watanabe, and a gripping psychological drama that comes with a vicious emotional punch. Succeeding both as a dark depiction of teen loneliness and infatuation and as a portrayal of homicidal lunacy, it’s a taut, involving and disturbing film which will doubtless continue to find admirers.
James Mudge Beyond Hollywood (October 07th, 2013)
My passion for the film reminds me of my teen years when I first discovered Kiyoshi Kurosawa through “Bright Future“ and “Pulse“, and Sion Sono through “Suicide Club“. Expect another “Shady” post this week.