Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Masahiro Kobayashi's Bootleg Film (1999) is an interesting, if not completely satisfying, movie about two old friends (one an older yakuza gangster, the other a former policeman) who are travelling by car to attend the funeral of a woman (the gents' lover and wife, respectively). In many ways a cheap fascimile of Tarantino films (which the director repeatedly makes homage to, as well as several other famous American movies), the almost slapstick, bumbling pair argue almost incessantly about the woman and her true affections. Complicating matters further is the prescence of the yakuza's brother (murdered by his older sibling) in the trunk, and the discovery of this fact by a hapless couple that arrive at a rest stop at the same time as the protagonists. The film is in black & white, and most of the scenes sparse and cold (possibly reflecting the budget), but it works well visually. Unfortunately, the humor was often lost on me, proabably due to translation, though often the acting was too, well, excitable (?). Some portions were simply inexplicable (though they may have had some symbolism to Japanese viewers). Overall it was a decent film, but not first rate.