A film by three of cinema’s great visionaries, Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), Leos Carax (The Lovers On The Bridge), and Bong Joon-ho (The Host) – Tokyo! aims to give the audience a taste of the ultra-modern Japanese metropolis, Tokyo. The film is done in three segments, featuring three different stories by each different director. While it’s always optimistic to break the mold of the conventional film, this, my friends, was a failed attempt.
I’m always up for a little edge, and I’m certainly refreshed by an abstract plot line, but Tokyo! is one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever endured. The first vignette features a young couple, Hiroku and Akira, in search for a new apartment. While Hiroku is struggling to launch a career in film, Akira is struggling to find a general purpose in life. Before you know it, she’s running around Toyko naked, transforming into a small wooden chair at random. Who knew a furniture metamorphosis was the solution to an aimless existence?
This gem of a story is followed by that of Merde, a creature who emerges from the Tokyo sewers to torment and repulse the innocent people of the city. His diet consists of flowers, strictly, and his daily activities include stealing money, licking people, bull-dozing old ladies, and chain-smoking. Tokyo is in shambles, leading to Merde’s arrest and ultimate conviction. There is only one lawyer on earth who is able to communicate with him, and when Merde’s trial begins – Tokyo is in store for a wild ride! Buckle up.
The last segment features an incredibly introverted middle-aged man (Teruyuki Kagawa) who’s completely isolated himself from society – literally refusing to leave his home. With an endless supply of toilet paper, and a pizza delivery service on speed dial, he pulls it off! When Kagawa suddenly falls in love with the delivery girl, he’s inspired to leave his home for the first time in years – coincidentally, during an earthquake. Will he venture beyond his thirst for seclusion and score the love of his life?
It seems as though the creators we’re hoping to make a statement about modern society in Tokyo, specifically whether or not a city shapes it’s inhabitants, or if the inhabitants shape the city. Peculiarities aside, the character struggles do – oddly enough – make a sociological statement. Tokyo, as a city, appears to be the recurring character throughout the film. But the attempt to make an artsy, think-outside -the-box type of film was total overkill – the audience couldn’t help but laugh in utter befuddlement. SAVE YOUR MONEY – rent this puppy when you’re in the mood for senseless comedy, then Tokyo! won’t let you down.
Open in select theatres in select theaters March 7th and nationwide March 20th!