夜を走る 「Yoru o Hashiru」
Release Date: May 13th, 2022
Duration: 125 mins.
Director: Dai Sako
Writer: Dai Sako (Script),
Starring: Tomomitsu Adachi, Reo Tamaoki, Nahana, Shohei Uno, Yutaka Matsushige, Tsutomu Takahashi, Yota Kawase,
Drive into Night is one of a number of very specific films that sets out to examine the idea that Japan is on the decline and has a junk yard as a major setting. Make the Devil Laugh and Ninja Girl are two other examples.
All three films share similar themes but have different styles. Make the Devil Laugh is a straight drama while Ninja Girl uses deadpan comedy. Drive into Night offers a noirish narrative that, for the first two thirds of the film, houses a grim character study of deadbeats desperate for any diversion from their dull lives. However, it does not sustain this and goes wayward in its final third that overloads the narrative with incidents, characters, and ideas that don’t quite stick.
This noirish film set in a small Japanese city in Saitama Prefecture. Its two protagonists are prime noir characters as they start in bad positions and keep making dumb decisions that make their lives worse.
We are first introduced to Taichi Akimoto (Tomomitsu Adachi), a 40-something sales agent at a scrap metal plant who still lives with his parents. His calm demeanour and diligence make him a good employee. However, he suppresses his emotions to such an extent that he presents a blank mask to the world. Unable to talk any amount of game, unable to stand up for himself, unable to show any sense of motivation or presence, he is a hollow man who meekly accepts the cruelty of others, especially from Hongo (Tsutomu Takahashi), a brutish and preening bully of a boss.
Juxtaposed against him is his friend Taniguchi (Reo Tamaoki), a more outgoing man married to a beautiful woman (Nahana) and father to a charming daughter (Ameri Isomura). He shows a sense of humour and a little ambition and yet he is dissatisfied with his life as he ignores his home, his daughter, and his unfaithful wife. Instead, he keeps a mistress and cultivates a desire to humiliate Hongo in some way.
On a drunken night out, Akimoto breaks from his shy and retiring act and tries to get the number of a young businesswoman who visited their worksite earlier in the day and had the misfortune of meeting Hongo. It goes disastrously for Akimoto. Sick and tired of being harassed by men, the woman rejects him. Harshly. With a dose of humiliation. Unexpectedly, Akimoto strikes her. The blow is hard enough to render her unconscious. The situation deteriorates further and Akimoto and Taniguchi wind up having to dispose of a corpse. This is when Taniguchi hatches a plan to frame Hongo…
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