Inuyashiki (2018)

Director: Shinsuke Sato
Writer: Hiroshi Hashimoto
Based on: Hiroya Oku‘s manga
Cast: Noritake Kinashi, Takeru Satoh, Kanata Hongô, Fumi Nikaidô, Ayaka Miyoshi, Nayuta Fukuzaki, Mari Hamada, Yuki Saitô, Yûsuke Iseya
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2018

Inuyashiki (Noritake Kinashi) tries his best, but he is getting older and success has so far evaded him. He works as hard as he can and his family still isn’t satisfied with the money he makes. Or his personality. To make matters worse, he is diagnosed with cancer and doesn’t have much time left anymore. Just as he wonders how to tell his family about this, he gets struck by a weird light in the park. After that he realizes that he has been given new, superhuman abilities. And he isn’t the only one: Hiro (Takeru Satoh) was also struck. But not everybody should get such powers.

Inuyashiki didn’t really work for me, although I did like Inuyashiki and the film does have a cute dog. But that wasn’t really enough.

The film poster showing a few stills of the film.

I am hesitant about stories about poor old men that are set in patriarchal societies. Why do you want me to pity the most powerful group in a society? But Inuyashiki makes it clear that Inuyashiki is one of the male victims of patriarchy: unable to meet the standards expected of men in said patriarchy, he is ultimately shunned by everyone around him, even his family.

Hiro on the other hand is young, good-looking, fresh and he very much meets the expectations of what makes a man. All of this pretty much makes him a psychopath, which I found is a very interesting take on hegemonic masculinity. And while I see the parallels the film tries to draw between these very different men, the film focused entirely too much on Hiro for my taste – at parts it felt like the film would have been more aptly named Hiro and not Inuyashiki. That focus lessened the inherent criticism of hegemonic masculinity as it did seem to argue that despite everything, hegemonic masculinity is more interesting.

Noritake Kinashi in the film.

Add to that that the film really doesn’t handle its women very well, nor Inuyashiki’s family: he has a wife, a son and a daughter, but ultimately everything revolves around the daughter. The son barely gets to say a word, the wife is completely irrelevant, but as soon as the daughter realizes that Inuyashiki may not be the loser she thought he was, everything is a-ok? This was a weird approach, I felt, and it didn’t make sense to me, emotionally speaking.

Apart from that the film felt about five million years long and every second was so very present. I’ve rarely felt time slow down so much and it was not pleasant. So, despite an interesting idea and a cute dog, ultimately the film fell flat for me.

Takeru Satoh in the film.

Summarizing: skip it.

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