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Donten seikatsu (Hazy Life)

Posted by martinteller on May 27, 2013

Kee (Hiroshi Yamamoto) and Tsutomu (Uda Teppei) are two young aimless men.  They meet outside a pachinko parlor and start hanging out.  Kee works for a porno producer, dubbing tapes of illegal, uncensored movies… and occasionally starring.  Tsutomu has nothing to do, and spends all his time lounging around Kee’s apartment, helping copy the tapes and snooping around in Kee’s stuff.  Kee has an ex-girlfriend and a four-year-old child he sees occasionally.  Tsutomu falls for one of the porn actresses.

Gonna have to make a pretty quick writeup, I’ve got another movie to get to downtown.  But there’s not a whole lot to say about this anyway.  Yamashita’s first feature is like a lot of other first features… a very deliberately “about nothing” story of slacker types.  It’s somewhat like early Jarmusch, so if that’s your kind of thing you may like it.  It doesn’t have the joy and humor of Linda Linda Linda, but there are definitely some funny moments.  Highlights are the few fantasy sequences, an intriguing scene where we suddenly are watching two different slacker types, and the sweet ending.  Also, Kee’s pompadour is very reminiscent of the Leningrad Cowboys, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kaurismaki’s deadpan tones and lethargic pacing were an influence.

It’s all… okay.  The camerawork is competent but the photography is a bit rough, the score is quirky and fun but also sounds a little cheap, the performances are fine but uninspired, the writing is solid but lacks originality.  It’s not the kind of thing anyone will get too excited about, but unless you’re easily bored it’s an okay watch.  Rating: Fair (65)


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