Actress Miyuki (Ko Shibasaki) and her much less famous boyfriend Kosuke (Ebizô Ichikawa) star in a play based on the story of Yotsuya Kaidan. The possessive love story of the play translates to their lives as well and soon the lines between the two become blurry.
Unfortunately I don’t know the original play and without that knowledge, the film was only partly understandable. Not only that, it’s only mildly interesting. Maybe if I had known it, I would have discovered subtleties that remained elusive for me and that could have made the film more interesting. But as is, I just thought it was pretty shallow.
Not everything about the movie was bad, of course. I found it really interesting that Miike uses imagery that would be associated with abortions, usually, and made it a woman’s desperate search for a child that was supposed to be there but wasn’t.
There generally were beautiful visuals, especially on stage, and some of the scenes really carried a punch – like the scene with the kick within the play. But more often than not, the scenes went completely overboard (for example when she comes through the windshield).
In the end it was those over the top scenes in particular that ruined the film for me. It ruined any attempt at drama (which I think was generally what the film was going for) and sometimes I had to laugh. (Though at least when I was laughing I wasn’t asleep – and I did doze off a couple of times, mostly out of boredom.)
As I said, there could be more to the film than I saw, if I had had the knowledge about the play. I’m sure in a Japanese context, it makes a lot more sense than it did for me. But I just didn’t know what to do with it. For me it remained ultimately shallow.