Hinako SaekiMakiko WatanabeJapanese
Aesop's Game
Medium: film
Year: 2019
Director: Naoya Asanuma, Yuya Nakaizumi, Shinichiro Ueda
Writer: Shinichiro Ueda
Actor: Guama, Hiroe Igeta, Ruka Ishikawa, Yota Kawase, Hinako Saeki, Makiko Watanabe
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 87 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10457158/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 21 December 2022
aesop game
It's the second film from the team behind One Cut of the Dead. (Same writer/director, with co-directors and a cinematographer who also worked with him on that film.)
This film isn't as funny and fresh as that, but that would have been extremely hard. Personally, I give Shin'ichiro Ueda credit for not just trying to remake his last hit. This film is completely different and won't get anywhere near the same level of international attention, but it's pretty cool and worth a look.
Underneath, though, it's pulling a similar trick, though, i.e. a genre shift after the first twenty minutes.
It feels nice, but low-key and predictable. We're following some university students. There's a quiet, plain girl (Miwa) whose best friend is a turtle and a trio of glamour pusses, one of whom (Saori) appears regularly on TV. One day, they get a handsome new lecturer. Saori likes him. Saori has zero hesitation about openly asking him out on dates.
Miwa talks to her mum. Saori has an amusing misunderstanding. Japan makes hundreds of films like this. I was happy enough to watch the film that this opening implied, but I was expecting it to be a bit dull.
Holy shit.
Things go Tarantino. There's organised crime, kidnapping, infidelity, revenge, questionable meetings in hotel rooms and the possible death of a turtle. What's more, even after springing its main surprise, the film has others in store. One of them made me practically fall off my chair. The story's layers are fairly impressive.
"Because she remembered my name."
I won't say much more, because discussing anything in detail from this point on would be a spoiler. It's fun, though. Give it a whirl. Don't read too much about it in advance.