Tuesday, 5 December 2017

JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL: RAGE



9/10

A suspect in a double homicide is on the run. Police knows his identity, but it seems the man they are looking for has undergone extensive facial surgery and has changed his name. With the storytelling split between three suspects we get a charismatic hitchhiker, a dock worker and a gay man, all with mysterious pasts… but the story is not about them, it's about people beside them. Three tales of love, suspicion and mistrust. And murder, of course.

Based on a successful novel, RAGE is a perfectly structured piece of work. The only connection between the three sets of characters is the murder we are introduced to in the beginning. There is a father played by Ken Watanabe, who will do anything to save his daughter from her shameful past, but can any man truly love her unless he has something to hide?

A successful businessman hiding his gay persona  is reluctant to fall seriously  in love, but when a mysterious stranger comes along he struggles with trust issues. Will he be able to overcome them and accept who he really is?

And a young boy entrusts his newfound friend with a terrible secret. Is a betrayal of trust, by a friend, more hurtful than the one of a lover? And with what consequences?

It is amazing how a simple murder mystery can bring together so many dramatic elements, so many characters and feel so complete at the same time. What can be achieved in a novel often cannot be translated on to the screen, for many reasons; the short running time is one of them. This is why quality TV nowadays feels at times more satisfying than a film. RAGE has a superb script that divides attention equally between its many characters. There are some fantastic performances on display, many from the acting ensemble  have been nominated for prestigious movie awards. RAGE is hard to watch at times because of some disturbing sequences; it can also be manipulative, throwing melodrama at you, but all is properly measured and is never over the top. 

This is a thinking persons’ movie that succeeds in highlighting serious issues and delivering first class entertainment at the same time. Would you be quicker to accept that the one close to you is a dangerous psychopath, than fully trust him?  RAGE can be a very personal film. I was deeply touched by it, so will you be. 

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