I saw Synesthesia today (some movies on that list I simply cannot bring myself to watch) and well,....flooding thoughts.
Basic synopsis: Weird murderer killing people surrounded by this little girl, Mari. Shin and Takashi -- computer-types just this shy of the law-- protect her. Shin's a synesthete. And the murderer is a synesthete. And the female cop looking to find the murderer suspects as much.
First: weirdly, the thing that touches me about this film is Shin's relationship with Takashi. Okay, sure it's the helpless little friend/brother thing but it works. And although the writers didn't give Takashi much of a backstory, there was enough there to make the viewer really like him and LONG for his happiness. Heck, we didn't even know the depth of his need to find love until he discovered it when he fell for Mari.
Secondly: that ending. The very last bits of it.... Aaaargh!!!!!!! This is something that annoys the heck out of me when it comes to certain Japanese movies and you'll probably groan in disbelief when I say this but honestly I would rather believe that Shin is carrying his friend's body down that hill rather than Mari's. YES, the shot is messed up. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen a Japanese or Korean movie which is unduly confusing because I simply don't know what has happened at the end. (Yes, you may laugh...but it took me a while to figure out the ending of Viva Love.) So here we have a long shot.... and someone being carried...and I KNOW it's supposed to be Mari because, well, Takashi is a smelly corpse by now and probably burnt. But as a writer (and you're one too) I will challenge these screenwriters. They're the ones who had Takashi say (when he was so involved in the video game) "Take me to the hill yadda yadda and bury me yadda yadda." So, if they were to book-end that little motif and honor the friendship between the guys they SHOULD've had Shin carry his friend's body...or urn.
Thirdly.... True, the two synesthetses (?) found each other. And I keep remembering C S Lewis' definition of friendship. ("True friendship is when you meet someone and you say, "You do that too?" Something like that.) But dang! Although it was touching for him to find someone very much like himself, it wasn't as if he hadn't found love. And that is an important point. Sure we saw his pregnant girlfriend being stressed out about her inability to truly understand him...but the filmmakers mightily missed the boat because they didn't show his grief or sorrow about not being understood. So, whether it was a writerly mistake or not, the film itself doesn't show that
Shin lacked much or even was feeling alone. Not meaning to be a pain here...but you know as well as I do that writers can "think" they've put something into a plot when they haven't really put it in the story at all. Shin just didn't seem all that lonely. So, my friend James who recommended this flick has imbued the Shin character with a longing and grief the character just doesn't have...or at least one which (if it's there) isn't properly shown by the screenwriters' skill.
There are so many things that bothered me about this movie....although I gotta say I liked it. It didn't quite do the paranoia thriller thing for me. It didn't do the police procedural thing. (Nope. Definitely didn't hold together there.) It didn't do the surreal hallucinatory thing (which might have been nice.) It didn't do the medical thriller. And it didn't touch me with the sense of loss. When James described this movie, I thought: wow, I'll be enveloped in loss, longing, and alienation. I WAITED for it. Nada, nada. I want my alienation and isolation heavy. And we didn't see this from Shin at all. Yep, he was relatively well-adjusted.
I will always remember this movie as the story of two lost "brothers:" Mari's brother who lost her. Shin's loss of Takashi (his friend/brother.) And maybe even as a story of a pregnant woman attempting to connect to her boyfriend but I will always remember it joyfully as the story of Takashi. Which isn't bad. I liked the movie for that...and that's where the heart of the film was for me.
James steered me to a good flick...but alas, for all the wrong reasons. I liked it, though..
I have to add that hubby thought Shin shouldn't have killed her. He's sitting beside me suggesting Shin should have sent her to the cops or to psychotherapists. Honestly! Yeah, Shin didn't have to kill her but it was one of the most necrophiliac erotic murders I've seen in a while. So...perhaps some fulfillment there. For the characters...not me.
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