Really excellent, both as a mystery thriller of high school boys becoming involved in the lurid criminal underworld and in the unfolding of the characters of the protagonists. It's also a classic tale of how an innocent acting for good motives (helping his mother) gets caught up in crime. I also feel the BL theme is absolutely central to this movie. All the events that happened would simply not have developed the way they did but for the initial attraction between Se Joon and Yoon Jae. It's brought out when the pair meet at the end when the truth seems clear even if still unspoken. There's also the irony that the "strong" character Se Joon is revealed as vulnerable exactly where his deepest feelings lie - if he'd been strong enough to express his feelings to Yoon Jae I'm sure the triangle between him, Yoon Jae and Eun Yeong would have been shown as unreal and events would not have ended up as they did. I get the feeling Se Joon realised his attraction but could not express it, whereas Yoon Jae was too innocent and suppressed his feelings but may have finally realised the truth too late. Depends how you interpret the ending. I felt sorry for poor Eun Yeong - well played by the lovely Moon Ga Young - who was really caught in the middle between two boys unable to fully express their love for each other. The treatment of her character's part was for me the most objectionable aspect of the movie - if maybe justified by the plot. The ending was also very well thought out and acted, even if - for those of us with a romantic outlook - a real bummer. Re-watch value high because even when you know the story, it's a pleasure to appreciate the finer details of how the characters develop and the plot is acted out.
Beautiful sensitive movie, maybe the best BL movie I have seen to date. Great characterization, original premise for the storyline and plot development - the progression of the movie's plot is perfectly attuned to how the contrasting characters of Seryou and Yuzuru come together. There are two lead roles here, not one.
Really interesting and watchable treatment of a subject that is even more a minority and sensitive one than gay life - cross-dressing. I thought the actors came across very well and liked the development of their friendship. Recommended.
Lovely, understated movie. All the actors are appealing and play their parts well. It must be very difficult to act an emotionally traumatized role. Not a movie for those looking for a lot of action but well worth viewing if you like well developed characters and a good story. My only slight criticism is that the denouement is a bit too neat - unless we are to understand that manager Sawashiro deliberately picked out a remote unpromising hotel to manage because of past events. Maybe - but it's certainly not spelt out and you need to exercise your imagination pretty hard before you come to that realisation. I can't say more without making a spoiler. Watch it and you'll understand. Would certainly watch again myself.
Very touching movie told in compact episodes (i.e. events seem to be left hanging and then you find out how you got to the next bit by the use of back story, so you have to just carry on watching even if it may seem confusing) so it's all very well pieced together into a tight organic whole. Interesting background issues with China's modernization, Tiananmen etc. If you don't like movies with sad parts this, this may not be for you. I don't either, but of course I didn't know how the movie would turn out. But it's worth persevering for the moving story of how a relationship develops and is sustained over a long period. Fine acting and directing. I give re-watch values based on whether it justifies re-watching, although I must admit I'm inclined to skip sad ones - life's sad enough as it is!
Really sweet story, it's not giving much away to say it's a "triangle" story based on misunderstandings - a typical BL format. My rating for story is based on how it's handled. Touching love scenes. The boys are tops in the eye candy department. Plus why do you always feel sorry for the one causing the problems? There's a very nice comic episode too. Not sure the bit tacked on at the end adds much, but that's my opinion. It's relatively short but probably just right to fit in all the ingredients and hold interest with no padding. If you're a sucker for sweet stories, cute boys and with happy endings, watch it!!
Unbelievable storyline. Poor characterization and character development. The lead up to the shock ending frankly lacked credibility. The shock came from nowhere because it was a complete non sequitur. Music? what music?
Not the most original of storylines, but simple and touching in its way. It's a short watch, so boredom does not have time to creep in. Cast pretty wooden unfortunately. Nice happy ending always rates a bonus for me.
Seeing the end of this movie, I've increased my rating. It seems initially just a gentle-paced, interesting story of some male hustlers. However the seemingly bizarre ending is a very clever twist indeed, making the lead character (Tatsuru) confront his own character and the life he's leading, which is based on suppressing his real feelings. There's also an interesting twist before that involving one of his former "clients". I can't say more or I'll give the plot away. But I will say that this movie will repay careful watching and thought. It's more than just a pleasant amusement with some pleasant faced actors. I have to disagree with the other reviewer. I think the slow pace and the talking are all part of the build up to what is a thought-provoking ending. I hope I'm right in thinking that it's a good ending in the sense that people can only grow when they get insight into themselves and how true to themselves they are being in the life they are leading. For me that's a good ending and a meaningful movie.
Kano is courted by numerous other men but according to some viewers of the movie he only really loves Soji. I'm not sure exactly where that idea comes from except from possible pointers towards the end of the movie. But if true, this would be highly ironic, given that a point is made of Soji being fiercely antipathetic to same sex love. Earlier in the movie it is specifically stated Kano and Tashiro are an item. So why does he accept the command to kill him? This in turn is because the powers-that-be suspect Tashiro of committing murders from jealousy. But as the movie concludes it seems rather more likely that Soji may have been responsible due to his hatred of same sex love, in which case, if Kano loved Soji, it may make sense that he killed Tashiro to cover up for Soji who was actually the one he loved. Was Soji running back claiming he'd forgotten something really to get away to murder someone else - even perhaps Kano? It all gets really impenetrable. I suppose you can reach your own conclusions depending on which pieces of the jigsaw you select. The above is only predicated on the emphasis some comments have put on Soji and Kano's supposed love for him. But I'm not sure I accept that anyway. Still, it's a beautifully produced, atmospheric movie with an androgynous and beautiful lead. Alas youth is fated to be cut down for even the most beautiful like the cherry tree at the end of the film. I think that's a common metaphor in Japanese culture.
Sad…but beautiful. Rather confused at the start as to where the story was going, but the sensitive ending more than made up for it. The story-line is not original but the BL angle is and I am happy gay relationships are given equally good treatment with straight romance. If only the same were true in Europe! Not one I would probably hurry to re-watch as it's very emotional but well worth seeing for anyone who has not.
Brilliant movie, hard hitting in all senses of the word, life in Korean schools in the 1970s makes English public schools of the time (though probably not the pre WW2 ones) look tame (e.g. I don't think in UK they used boys' heads as a billiard ball), with survival of the fittest apparently the guiding principle. There was a danger this would all seem over the top, but the movie felt very believable. I suppose there had to be "love interest" in it to give a reason for some of the testosterone expended in male rivalry. Thankfully it didn't dominate and the way it ended for the lead actor and his crush was again well done and believable. This may only appeal to those who like male coming-of-age and action type movies and can tolerate a fair amount of violent action. But of its type it's first rate.
Beautiful sensitive movie. See my review of Fri-Sun. The whole thing had me almost in tears by the happy ending. Brilliantly acted, you really felt for these boys. Probably the best BL movie I've seen to date. Plus they are both so good-looking, Hirose Tomoki especially in the movie (is it the same person in the biog? it doesn't do him justice).
Weird but interesting story - brings together several genres such as the closed room whodunnit of crime fiction, hard edged rebarbative sci-fi/horror and - through its school student setting - dystopian works of children's atavistic reversion to savagery when plucked from normal "civilised" life, such as Golding's Lord of the Flies, Oe's Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids and in cinema Battle Royale. I feel the plot becomes too clever for its own good, the contortions become hard to follow and there's a fair amount of sleight of hand by the time it gets to the end. Still, it makes you think - whether as a dramatic comment on human society or a dramatic projection of human psychological motivations. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it!! Some nice eye candy here anyway, in particular with the sultry good looks of Ota Motahiro (whose photo on the biog page completely fails imho to do him justice compared to the movie!) (Was there any music? I don't see how we can give a required score).