A place, somewhere, that bears a strong resemblance in history and environment to Japan. Its return to prosperity after defeat in war is due to a certain law, a pillar of the state. This is the Special Law for the Maintenance of National Prosperity. 24 hours before this capsule is to bring about death, an official of the Ministry of Health and Welfare brings a letter announcing impending death, an ikigami. Those who receive this ikigami letter have 24 hours of absolute freedom to do anything and everything they want. Kengo Fujimoto has made his way through university and taken a job with the Ministry. His work now is delivering these ikigami letters.
Dear Citizen: Thank you for your loyalty. You've no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You've probably asked yourself
WHY ISN"T ANYTHING BEING DONE TO STOP THIS SYSTEMATIC DECLINE?
Rest assured that measures are being taken. Beginning immediately, we will randomly select a different citizen each who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is and how important it is to be a productive, active member of society.
Thank you for your continued attention and your cooperation and participation...
Cast & Credits
If you like novels like 1984, Lord Of The Flies, The Giver or Hunger Games...You may like watching Ikigami, The Ultimate Limit. Set in an unknown but familiar looking future time; the population is contained and controlled by random selection. Children are inoculated when they enter school and sometime during their young adulthood; the 'chosen to sacrifice for prosperity' are given 24 hours notice of their death. The story begins here for the viewer. We get to follow one man (Shota Matsuda) who's job it is to inform the chosen that their death is nigh.
I found it incredibly interesting; the different reactions people had to this news. This story is more about the human condition, human reactions in the face of death with nothing left to lose. It is not a rousing tale of the populous rising up to over throw the oppression. It is dark, sad and really touching.
The color pallet of the film lends itself to this feeling. Dark blue lighting, cloudy days, windowless rooms and dank underground work places. There are glimpses of light just as their are glimpses of hope in the lives of those lived and those left behind.
I've never read the manga but I am curious now. I recommend this film highly and not just because I am a rabid fan of Matsuda Shota. But I am a fan for a reason besides the superficial. He is a great actor, with a rubber face, fearless emoting and the ability to go very dark. He can turn it on a dime and be comedic too but for that you will have to watch some of his other films and dramas.
The whole cast was stellar. I particularly loved Yuta Kanai and Yamada Takayuki. Their acting was amazing and their stories touched my heart.
This is a cool movie. Give it a try if you are in the mood for darker fare.