Based on a Fujita Yoshimaga novel, Fumiya (Jo Odagiri) has been a university student for almost 8 years, he’s a ‘down on his luck’ nobody who gets through life happily basically doing nothing. No ambitions in life or even intentions to pay back the money he owes as well. One day he gets a visit from a man called Fukuhara (Tomakazu Miura) a loan shark looking to collect the 840,000 Yen debt that Fumiya owes but cannot payback because he cants afford too. He leaves Fumiya an ultimatum of 72 hours to pay up or face the consequences, however, Fukuhara returns 24 hours later to give him an offer he cannot refuse, offering 3 million Yen to cancel out his debt, what’s the catch? To walk with him around Tokyo and at the end of the day he’ll give him the money at the end.
Adrift In Tokyo is a very simple film which takes shape in the form of a road film but not in the sense our two protagonists jump in a car but by using the most effective form of transport we’re born with, our feet. Idyllically pace, the film moves at a pace which you can appreciate not just the quality of the characters but also the location, parts of Tokyo City which you wouldn’t really see on a tourist trail unless you are visiting someone from the city.
The real highlight of the film is its two main characters and the unlikely bond the pair forge which blossoms in a way that they trust each other so much and also feel ‘lost’ without them when apart for long periods of time. This highlights the fragility of the pair and over time it helps us to learn more about the pair too. Fumiya abandoned by his parents when he was young, no chance to enjoy family life but most of all lacking a father figure. This is where Fukuhara comes in, as he provides that father figure for Fumiya despite his faults and over time we see Fukuhara actually embraces that responsibility. There is a touching scene which that band really shines through as the pair enjoy a roller coaster ride together bringing back memories both have forgotten about, it makes you wonder after what you’ve watched up to this stage could they really be father and son?
The basis of Adrift In Tokyo been two men walking around a big city might not sound appealing after the relationship of the main characters we also are introduced to an array of characters that can only be described as oddball. They do bring out the surreal sometimes absurd side of Tokyo life, from a taste of Cosplay which we meet Fumiya’s ex-girlfriend but before then we meet a 66-year-old Cosplayer who looks a cross between a Buck Rogers reject crossed with Michael Crawfords Condorman (I think the actor pops up several times during the film).You may think this humour/style will spoil the film and it actually doesn’t give it a deadpan sense of humour similar to Jim Jarmusch’s early creations.
You may ask why does Fukuhara want to walk around Tokyo City? You do learn its something he has done and now regrets and the destination of the walk is to the police station but I’ve not spoiled the film by saying this as the crime Fukuhara has committed isn’t the important thing of this film but the relationship and reflection between him and Fumiya. Adrift In Tokyo is one road film that you wish would never really end.It’s funny, absurd, touch engaging heart warming story which is nothing but fantastic filmmaking.
★★★★| Paul Devine
Comedy, Drama | Japan, 2007 | 15 | 27th February 2012 (UK) | Third Window FIlms |Dir:Miki Satoshi |Jô Odagiri, Tomokazu Miura and Kyôko Koizumi