Kamikaze Girls (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/06/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Enjoyable, brightly coloured bubble gum fantasy with great performances, several decent gags and a fabulous soundtrack, though it occasionally feels like a sugar-fuelled overdose of Japanese kitsch.

What's it all about?
Based on the novel by cult writer Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls is set in the small town of Shimotsuma, some 60 miles from Tokyo, where sweet-natured, frilly-dress-loving Momoko (Kyoko Fukada) lives with her useless father and one-eyed, slightly bonkers grandmother. Something of an outcast in Shimotsuma, Momoko is obsessed with dressing in the Rococo style of 18th century France and dreams of visiting her favourite Tokyo boutique, Baby, The Stars Shine Bright (a genuine Japanese brand).

However, when spitting, head-butting biker chick Ichiko (Anna Tsuchiya) shows up wanting to buy some of Momoko's father's knock-off "Versach" gear, the two girls gradually become friends, despite appearing to be total opposites. The rest of the plot, such as it is, involves the two girls attempting to find a legendary embroiderer, in order to impress the departing leader of Ichiko's biker gang.

The Good
Tetsuya Nakashima directs with a flashy, colourful style that incorporates freeze-frames, slow motion, strange soundtrack noises, an anime sequence, off the wall moments of weirdness (e.g. Momoko's grandmother catching dragonflies), fart gags (complete with animated fart clouds), a flashback involving projectile vomit and even a fantasy sequence set in 18th-century France.

Essentially, the film is like a Japanese version of Ghost World, in that it's basically about the friendship between two outsiders. Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya (who won a Best Newcomer award) are both excellent and spark off each other well, while there's colourful support from Kirin Kiki as Momoko's grandmother and Sadao Abe as The Unicorn, named after his elaborate quiff.

The Bad
Though the film is genuinely funny in places, it's also true that a little Japanese kitsch goes an awful long way and it rather wears out its welcome before the end.

Worth seeing?
In short, Kamikaze Girls is an odd little confection that's worth seeing for curiosity value alone. Great soundtrack, too.

Film Trailer

Kamikaze Girls (tbc)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 23:16

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