Adrift in Tokyo

Satoshi Miki

BY Robert BellPublished Jan 12, 2010

Films don't come much more obvious than Adrift in Tokyo, a movie where two lost souls wander a changing landscape, reflecting on luck and belonging. Anyone who has seen a road movie, or anything featuring thematically similar peregrinations, knows that it's all about the journey, as the destination becomes less important the closer we get. Satoshi Miki's entry into the canon doesn't stray far from the template, with Fumiya (Jo Odagiri) forging through university, in debt to loan sharks and with no family to help. Unfocused and desperate, he reluctantly accepts a bizarre request from Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura), the debt collector, to accompany him on a multi-day walk through Tokyo in exchange for a million yen. In case the narrative implications were not clear enough, the older, mullet-donning man of the world feels similarly misplaced, having lost a son some time ago. Despite its lack of subtlety, and Jo Odagiri's tendency to overemphasize emotions to a distracting degree, this geographically reflective charmer does remain compelling throughout, balancing humour and pathos with themes of alienation and discovery. Rather than annoying, the constant idiosyncratic interruptions from passers-by, such as an older videogame junkie and an angry woman on a bicycle, comically reinforce these assertions, reminding us of central plights without dwelling on the adverse. It is this aloof approach to bonding, along with a fetishist eye for the Tokyo landscape, which make Adrift in Tokyo memorable and worth seeking out. Indeed, the quest is simple and transparent, but it's also pleasant and easily digested, leaving a little something to think about after the credits roll. Included with the DVD is a 72-minute "Making of" supplement that is a strangely assembled collection of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Quite frankly, it could have been edited down to 15 minutes with equal significance. Also included is a booklet featuring an interview with Satoshi Miki.

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