Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nonsensical and delightful: Survive Style 5+

I ordered "Survive Style 5+" from Play some weeks ago and we just watched it last week. The film is great fun and visually amazing. Colorful and surreal. Think about an Almodovar flick mixed with some Clamp's "XXXHolic", and then you can have an idea. Aesthetics to die for. A bit kitsch, a bit psychedelic. Sometimes gothic, but never in shades of black. Everything is colourful and bright there. The interior of the houses is also fabulous, as are the clothes.

The story is about 5 different groups of characters whose lives end up interacting at one stage or another:

- Aman, played by the gawjus Tadanobu Asano, who keeps trying to kill his wife but she always comes back to life;
- Yoko, who is a publicity/creative director who records her wacky ideas for commercials on a little voice recorder. She has an affair with a stage hypnotist - who is a celebrity and bit of a jerk;
- Mr. Kobaysahi is a businessman who gets tickets to take his family (wife and 2 kids) to that hypnotist's show;
- An English hitman (and a bit of an Angel of Death it seems!) played by Vinnie Jones , that arrives to Japan and, in the company of his translator/sidekick, also goes to the hypnotist's show but with a very clear function (telling which would be a bit of a spoiler though!);
- A trio of hoodlums, which are rather very sympathetic and not quite the badasses, which goes around town breaking into houses and ends up meeting the hitman in an onsen.

I cannot tell much more, but the situations are hilarious. I especially like Yoko when she observes the things happening around her and then giggles in delight imagining the potential ads that she can create from that. And I love when the Kobayashi family enter their car and start singing like mad on the way to the hypnotist's performance!

The clothes used by Aman's wife are wonderful. A bit déco sometimes, and not unlike a Pucci frock straight out from the 60's. And their house is fantastic, with "eyes" being a recurrent theme (even on Aman's coat, who seems to be the one obsessed with them). Eyes on the curtains, on the chairs, on posters and paintings. Everywhere.

"Survive Style" is a black comedy with a happy ending. Everything is stylish and beautiful: clothes, décor and music. The story is hilarious and touchy at the same time. It's definitely worth watching it. I will be getting the soundtrack very soon.

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