out of Five
Running time: 113
Engaging black comedy that doesn't quite hang together, though it's worth watching for the superb performances by Erika Sato and Hiromi Nagasaku.
What's it all about?
Funuke: Show Some Love, You Losers! is the debut feature of director Daihachi Yoshida. Set in modern day rural Japan, it stars Aimi Satsukawa as a young wannabe Manga artist Kiyomi Wago, who's traumatised by witnessing the death of her parents when a truck swerves to avoid hitting a cat.
With the family no longer able to send her money for acting school, Kiyomi's supremely bitchy older sister Sumika (Erika Sato) returns to the family home to live with Kiyomi, their brother Shinji (Masatoshi Nagase) and his sweet-natured, put-upon wife Machiko (Hiromi Nagasaku). However, tensions soon boil over and it isn't long before dark secrets start spilling out left, right and centre.
The blackly comic tone of the film is set early on when the camera pans from a shot of a cat to the immediate aftermath of the accident (you only hear the crash and never see the parents), revealing two dark red smears across the road and the blankly shocked look on Kiyomi's face. Shortly afterwards, Sumika arrives and presents Kiyomi with a stuffed cat, with Machiko wondering aloud if that isn't a little inappropriate.
From then on, things get progressively darker and weirder with the claustrophobic setting (the characters hardly ever leave the house) and the intense performances giving the film the feel of a Harold Pinter play. Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous, Sato has a lot of fun as the monstrous Sumika (her horror movie scene is a definite highlight), whilst Nagasaku is delightful as, essentially, the only likeable character in the film.
The main problem is that the tone is extremely uneven with some scenes working much better than others. Similarly, the ending is anti-climactic and disappointing and the film rather outstays its welcome with a lengthy running time.
This is uneven and not entirely satisfying but it's worth seeing for its flat out weirdness and the superb performances from Sato and Nagasaku.