１９ （ナインティーン）「19 Nainti-n」
Release Date: July 14th, 2001
Duration: 82 mins.
Director: Kazushi Watanabe
Writer: Kazushi Watanabe (Script),
Starring: Daijiro Kawaoka, Kazushi Watanabe, Takeo Noro, Ryo Shinmyo, Masashi Endo, Nachi Nozawa,
19 is a coming-of-age drama that takes place on the open roads of the Kanto region. It starts with a university student named Usami (Daijiro Kawaoka) being kidnapped in broad daylight by a trio of young men in a car and taken on a road trip with no destination in mind and no explanation on offer.
Said kidnappers are beanie-wearing Chiba (Takeo Noro) who takes photographs, tight-lipped sunglasses-wearing Kobe (Ryo Shinmyo) who does the driving, and their leader, the more garrulous Yokohama (director Kazushi Watanabe himself), a real wise-ass. Their names seem to indicate where they come from but whatever the case, the three will not permit Usami to leave their company. Pretty soon, even when the opportunity is on offer, Usami is unable to leave of his own free will because he falls under the influence of his captors. Their influence is obvious: they act less like kidnappers and more like delinquent elder brothers. Their petty crimes rely on being audacious – walking out of a supermarket without paying? Sure. Stealing a car? Yep. It escalates, however. Kidnapping more people? Can do. Anything and everything is possible on their road trip.
There is the occasional reveal of a philosophical bent to the young men, such as posing questions about life, the universe, and Einstein’s theories on the speed of light. Some of it sounds cool – if you go fast enough, time slows down, therefore driving means they can live forever. But there is much more of the mundane such as their hunt for Max Coffee. Whatever they choose to reveal, they remain mysterious. There is tension inherent in the scenario they have set up and their misadventures.