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Completed
Night Flight
194 people found this review helpful
by rei
Aug 2, 2015
Completed 4
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
An oasis in this wasteland, as Lucien Carr may say, and I'm willing to say it twice. I wasn't even going to write a review, since I'm still overwhelmed and my words may lack the power to describe how painfully touching this movie is. But shall we?

What a sweet poster! ... Fooled me. Well, I didn't even watch the trailer. I couldn't anticipate the plot, the atmosphere; nothing. Koreans have this unhealthy habit of using same-gender romance as fanservice, and personally, I'm so sick of it. They bring the sweet part of it and forget how unrealistic that is, especially in Korea, but it's trendy. So, coming from such a harsh society, it's rare to see a realistic and brave movie regarding this matter. Lately, not only in cinematography, but also music, I've noticed more support and attention in this country. Night Flight is nothing about fetishizing homosexuality and avoiding the truth. This movie manages to show a honest reality, with striking scenes and a solid plot.

It explores the relationship between three childhood friends — Yong Joo, Gi Wook and Gi Taek. Yong Joo and Gi Wook own the plot, while Gi Taek holds a meaningful role through the story. The two of them have a complicated relationship, a kind of bitter, one-sided friendship which lacks closeness and words. This already confusing relationship they have takes a new turn when Yong Joo realizes the feelings he has for Gi Wook have been romantic for a very long time. So he walks further. And everything crashes, in a very beautiful, aching way. Don't expect sweetness, there's no such thing. At least, not how it usually looks like. Let go of your affectionate dramaland and learn to see differently. The emotions can be seen only through gestures, the way the look at each other, the way they don't when they can't see each other (but they wonder about the other) and the words they always seem to share without speaking. Both cruel and kind words. Thus, the moments they speak, the dialogue is actually complex, behind its simple words. So, it's intense and much honest. I found they personalities very pure, pained and so lonely, bearing their own heavy stories, but they choose to cope with their feelings in completely opposite ways — Yong Joo is the bright, brave and sincere one, while Gi Wook is quieter, violent and doesn't know how to express himself. I thought for a moment, given their situations, it's more expected for their personalities to have been reversed, but this way it's actually more interesting, I really like that.
The acting, with more interest in the body language rather than words, was intense and surprisingly good. I could feel their pain growing under my skin, and all it took was looking into their eyes and their messy gestures. Some scenes are still haunting me.
Given how quiet and raw the movie feels, when the music starts, it speaks emotions. Not too much, really, just the right amount of sounds to make it more touching, at the right time. Visually, there are many important details; sometimes it's bright, but mostly dark. Some shoots are serene, colorful and truly artistic, matching the emotions (love), while some are simply raw, monotone and cruel, matching the reality (pain). A very creative contrast.
Do I plan on rewatching it? Of course, probably many times. I'm typing and I can feel the urge to go back and watch some parts, but I'll stay away for a while and let it sink in. Not long, though. I can't wait to see if it's going to hurt more or less (most likely, more). Profound movies always touch deeper the second time.

Yes, it's a sad, realistic movie, with sad teenagers in love. Too young to be so damaged, yet very common. And no, the actors don't look like models, their skin isn't godlike. They look human and, also, they fight for being humans, in a world full of emotionless and harmful silhouettes. This movie shouldn't be overlooked or judged before watching. Let go of any previous disappointing experience with gay-themed movies and dwell in Night Flight. It's the kind of movie that should be watched late at night, when the mind is a little tired to analyze, and the feelings are more perceptive. Because it stains, yet it doesn't feel only painful — it's also very sweet. Beautifully tragic.

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Completed
No Touching At All
80 people found this review helpful
by rei
Nov 11, 2014
Completed 1
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I'm human, aren't I? Even though I knew this was pointless, why did I fall in love? - DF, chapter 3.

BL movies aren't a thing these days; poor cast, poor setting, it takes so little to drown everything into a sea of painful awkwardness for the viewer. But there are few to be remembered; well, not exactly for the visual efforts, but for the pleasant acting and the understanding of the plot. Simplicity is always better. Doushitemo Furetakunai // No touching at all is one of them; and hopefully, more to come.

I'm a faithful fan of Yoneda Kou's work, her plots start from seemingly plain points and develop beautifully with characters mingled so well, it has to break a heart or two half-way through the story. The simplicity is the key here as well - motionless, quiet atmosphere. Beneath the mundane way of living, people are far more complicated than they seem. They always struggle with themselves and their wounds left from past experiences every time their encounter new ones. So wouldn't it be worse to fall in love in such wearing circumstances?

Sincerely, I didn't expect much, mainly because the two characters have an unique feel about them. I was afraid of dullness, yet I've been waiting to watch this movie ever since it came out. They did it, they found the actors who, in my opinion, fit fairly well. Not only separately, but together. Acting was pretty good, felt almost! natural, my awkward sensors didn't react - rather, I was kinda overwhelmed by the ball of cuteness named Yonehara Kousuke (who are you again and why don't you act more?), and his bold words to cover it up. Togawa-san is /so/ Togawa too. Wait what. It's tough pointing out what lacks when they have such a chemistry going on.
Also, I appreciate how they kept the important parts of the story, without altering it. True, there some scenes left out (/certain/ scenes), but for a (Japanese) movie it's a decent deal, it feels smooth, feels nice.
So far so good, yet my one complaint is that you can spot the characters from afar and wish to see them closer, especially when they interact with each other. The characters' expressions are so important. That was kinda disappointing at times, even though there were plenty scenes to make up for that, but still. Isn't this an eternal pain when it comes to BL movies anyway? They always leave us begging for more.
While the movie is lacking, as most BL movies do out there, it's a worthy live-action. Maybe even better in some aspects than the previous BL productions, just maybe. I should reconsider my faith with this one and wait for upcoming projects.

If any of you haven't read the manga, you should do it before watching the movie. This way you can value the acting much better and enjoy it. With this in mind, take a good breath, don't hesitate to watch. Chances are you're gonna melt inside anyway.

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Completed
Hot Road
38 people found this review helpful
by rei
Apr 17, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
I don't know about you, but I'm weak when it comes to motorcycles + gangs. Proven once again.
I've been hesitating to watch this movie since I rarely enjoy romantic plots, because they're either shallow or overwhelmingly cliche /and/ unnecessarily dramatic; but I threw all my expectations aside (motorcycles!) and gave it a shot. I just had a good feeling about it and my instincts never betray me (totally not the motorcycles). Alright, I'm just joking.

You know when the movie has a good start you'll either be all optimistic and anticipate every minute of it or you'll be a pessimist and think how it'll go downhill midway through. Funny thing! nothing of such happened. Despite the beautiful filming (and let me point out how neat it was), the plot didn't gave much at first. I couldn't grasp its direction and I couldn't guess if I was happy about what I saw and if I was going to enjoy what was going to happen, but before I found my answers, it grew on me real quick and hit me like a splash of emotions. I do enjoy the movies you can easily relate to.

But this movie stands out not only for the romance, don't be fooled; it manages to mix (beautifully) loneliness, suffering, fear and eventually love, all together in a heavy pack of a simple, yet well-structured plot. The drama effect is strong and it balaces well through the characters, nothing silly in here. The main characters aren't something new, but relatable and true. Their encounter and their relationship is well acted and very realistic. The actors managed to show a mature performance, which is really important for this kind of plot and for the overall atmosphere. But give me a second here, alright — who's this Tosaka Hiroomi and why isn't he in the industry already? He shows real potential and I wish to see him more in the future.

To sum it up, gangs? Check. Motorcycles? Check. (now that's shoujo-ish). But realistic romance? Check. (not so shoujo-ish anymore). Sounds good, right? If it sounds good for you, you should totally watch it.

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Completed
As the Gods Will
6 people found this review helpful
by rei
Jul 30, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
What a brilliant movie. Brilliantly odd, I would argue. Chilling music and blood splashing everywhere? Definitely my kind.
I'm a survival games trash. As a viewer, I want to be challenged and left speechless, itching everywhere after the movie ends. And right now my mind feels really itchy.

Firstly, the plot. I had no idea this is directed by Takashi Miike (and I feel so ashamed for that, his movies are my jam). My pick was a simple — what the hell is this — and, now that I've just watched it, it updated to — what the hell was that. But the feel of the story, definitely quality, so familiar to my taste. At the beginning, I couldn't grasp what was going on. There isn't much explanation about what's really going on, and I think this way, it feels more heavy and challenging. But the plot blooms with the action, since it isn't just a simple survival rush. Wouldn't that be too boring?
I really enjoyed the symbolism, so witty and carefully linked to the plot and the characters. If I were to plunge deeper, I might spoil, so I won't do it. I assume some won't know what every survival game stands for, so if you don't, after (or before) watching the movie, take some time to browse about Daruma, Maneki Neko, Kokeshi, Shirou Kuma and Matryoshka. It will help you understand the movie way better (more like, get you to the intrigued but excited mood). I admit at first I didn't pay much attention to that aspect, because I was too busy grinning through the first game, but when I saw Maneki Neko, it hit me — wait, it's more than this.

The acting was neat, young and talented actors. Usually when I watch a movie (either Japanese or Korean), there are 80% chances a character would make me go — this actor doesn't suit them at all. In this movie, though, the feel of every actor matches the character. Amaya Takeru left me speechless, I mean, Kamiki Ryunosuke was a match made in heaven.
If it's survival, of course there's going to be blood. But oh, the gore displayed in this movie is just so damn hilarious and entertaining. Just like in Lesson of the evil. Unnecessary gore lefts me disappointed. And the music, on point - either thrilling, emotional or simply sassy. Such a classy combination.

Another great thing about this movie is the visuals. I wouldn't call them stunning, but neither poor; simply atmospheric. Japanese movies would either pull your soul into the screen or leave you internally crying, because it's just so hard to watch. Given the plot, this could have been a really, really awkward trip for the eyes, if the visuals were screaming failure. But it was truly fun and colorful. Each level of the game feels different. I can't type enough how good the atmosphere was.

So the blood, the music and the visuals, all knitted together to fit the psychological theme. The usual — who's the strongest? who's the smartest? are the kind ones the weakest? can trust be harmful? what qualities do you need in order to survive? is there a reason to survive? Personally, the relationship between Takahata Shun and Amaya Takeru kept me on my toes the whole time. It felt so interesting, exciting, but a little lacking. Maybe because I was expecting more? I don't know, but I wish it were more. We were given the challenge to choose (or not) between those two strong characters, but with no real closure to their real selves. What do they really believe in? How do they really see each other? Parts of them were displayed mainly through the games, symbolically, with dim peeks into their individual state. There are so many questions left unanswered and I can't help but fry my mind trying to find some hints. If that's what the movie wants, then yes, thank you, it will definitely stain my mind for a long time. Those plot twists and the ending caressed my soul.
There was so much going on, it would have been impossible to fill those holes without killing the fresh pace. And for that, this is what I call a very smart, wonderfully challenging movie. It's meant to leave questions behind, and answer as little as it can. I blame the wonderful Miike for this addictive feel.

The movie can't be rewatched for the thrill, but I would rewatch it more for the fun it manages to give. I recommend this to every thirsty brain out there. The dark humor squad would definitely enjoy this one, I assure you.

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