Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's for your own good! (君のためだよ!)

I feel the need to warn you ahead of time, dear readers: long, pointless, and possibly overwrought rant ahead. Steer clear if you're not in the mood for that sort of fare today. However, if you'd like some righteous (or simply vociferous) indignation with your breakfast (or lunch... or dinner, as the case may be), please, do read on.


Honestly. If I watch one more BL movie where a protagonist gets offed in an entirely unnecessary, utterly melodramatic fashion as some sort of "plot twist" that I saw coming a mile away (and spent the last half of the movie jadedly groaning over)... I'm going to give up on the genre entirely.

Oh. Er. Not only was that something of a run-on sentence, I just spoiled the whole thing, didn't I.

...Well, frankly, if I were you, I'd be happy for the warning. Positively thrilled, maybe even thankful. I mean really.

This movie made me feel sick inside. I had to watch an episode of Avatar to calm myself down enough to get to sleep, and even then it wasn't happening easily. (I would write about Avatar one day, as it is the best thing ever, but that would really be crossing cultural lines, now wouldn't it? Despite how the Fire Nation is clearly imperialist Japan, not to mention the deliciously researched pan-Asian influences... Aaand I've gone off on a tangent, haven't I.)

At least Boys Love just made me feel needlessly depressed (made all the worse for not seeing that twist coming, because foolish, naive me, I didn't know the formula back then) and, admittedly, somewhat ticked at the lack of medical realism. (Dying from a butter knife to the kidneys in the middle of modern, downtown Tokyo? Oh come now. If you're going to be that way, let's just go all out and say he was killed by a land shark.) It had closure, albeit strange and creepy closure, but gosh darnit, if I'm going to walk away from a movie miserable, I at least want to feel like I didn't waste the last hour and a half of my life waiting for an ending that never came.

But I suppose I should have known better, what with a title like:

禁断の恋 (Kindan no Koi, Prohibited Love)

Tag-line (roughly translated):  I met you, and I first knew love.

Yes, see, it lures you into a false sense of security with good PR. Mild, artistically simplistic cover art, cutesy tag-line, dainty pink writing, vaguely pretty boys.


Also, again with the lack of medical reality. But I'm getting ahead of myself now.

All right, just so everything's fair: if you don't want the entire movie spoiled, play-by-play, stop reading right now. Turn away, read another post, go to Wikipedia and read all about Avatar (or pretty much anything you can think of, for that matter), have some tea and crumpets.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

(And really, the spoiler above could be for any number of movies, so you can't really go whining at me for that.)

So we start out not knowing what the heck is going on (never a good thing in movies, I feel) with a scene involving a high-school student (later revealed to be Ryou, our younger protagonist's brother) wandering around his apartment, carrying flowers. He eventually goes into his brother's--Shou, demonstrating pure brilliance on the part of the parents--room, where he interrupts a very un-passionate love scene between Shou and some sketchy-looking 茶髪 (chapatsu; brown-haired) dude with glasses.

Don't disregard my descriptions, dear readers--I had this guy pegged from his first creepy stomach-nuzzle.

Shou kicks the sketchy-looking dude away when he sees his brother, and the sketchy-looking dude scrambles out, looking a little disappointed. You'd feel bad for him, but come on, he's sketchy-looking. Right away we know this guy is not to be sympathized with. Ryou, seeing nothing amiss with walking in on his brother about to shag another man, puts the flowers on his desk. There's some meaningful dialogue about them being red, and Ryou saying "you like red, don't you?" but really it's all a ruse.

Because this movie is stupid and has no point and therefore any and all foreshadowing is absolutely meaningless.

...hmm, maybe I shouldn't be reviewing this.

Cut to our other protagonist (Ritsu), who has just come back from a business trip/study abroad/thing in New York. He works for Shou and Ryou's (tell me that doesn't sound ridiculous) father as a shop-boy and hopeful designer, and of course is thrilled to acquiesce when boss-man says that he should live with his two sons for the time being, as Shou has dropped out of high school, locked himself up in the apartment complex and generally become some sort of anti-social sulk-pot who no one knows how to deal with.

Oh, and, surprise--Ritsu and Shou were lovers before he left for New York. You would have known that if you had read one of those internet summaries, you know.

After a flashback filled with awkwardness and bad acting that explains their former relationship (and how Ritsu made Shou promise to wait for him for the three years he would be in New York), we follow the mad whirlwind adventure (ooorrr not) of Ritsu attempting to get through to Shou and determine just exactly what bug crawled up his butt.

But not really. Because we actually spend most of the movie (all 71 minutes of it) watching Ritsu fail spectacularly at doing anything helpful, effective, or even intelligent. We only find out through Ryou that Shou quit high school due to being mercilessly bullied (explanations as to why are apparently for higher-budget films), even though he only had a semester left before he graduated.

During this time, we are lead to believe that (a) Ryou has a thing for Ritsu and thus is jealous of his brother, and (b) sketchy-dude (who also works for boss-man, what a twist!) truly is as sketchy, lecherous, and just plain yucky as we suspected him to be all along.

One of these two is correct.

What with all the sad, melodramatic music and lack of action, I knew this was going to end badly, and yet for some reason I held on to hope and kept watching...

Anyway. When Ritsu finally decides to confront Shou and figure out what, exactly, his problem is, Shou turns the tables and pins him to the ground, tries to rip off his clothes, and yells an angry something about Ritsu sleeping with his father. "Whaaat?" says Ritsu (and the entire audience). Shou gets up and digs through a file, eventually tossing down a photograph of Ritsu and his father lying naked in a bed. Smirking at the camera. More of the "whaaat?" reaction from Ritsu (do I even need to mention the audience?) To add insult to injury, Shou states bluntly that he's been sleeping with sketchy-looking dude.

And speak of the devil, SLD and Ryou are secretly watching this entire exchange on a television set in SLD's apartment. Those first-scene flowers (remember those?) hid a camera all along. Because that seems reasonable. Here is also where we find out that SLD is sleeping with Ryou as well.  

Let me pause to say: What the hell.

Shou runs to the roof to sulk, and Ritsu eventually confronts him--look, the photo is obviously a fake, because he doesn't have that birthmark on his chest. After some disbelief, Shou eventually buys that, no, his boyfriend was not cheating on him with his father, and a rather passion-less bit of love-scene ensues. Hooray, everything is fixed!

... or so we think.

After a short and fairly pointless date-scene between Ritsu and Shou (not to mention some expected bitchiness on the part of Ryou), it appears that all is back to normal between them. Hooray, three years of neglect and distrust totally erased in the span of fifteen minutes! Shou, however, ultimately ruins their bliss by being randy--Ritsu doesn't want to sleep with him with Ryou in the next room (who is of course listening to every word, the little scamp), so Shou says that he knows a place where the can be alone. Huzzah for empty apartments with convenient mattresses on the floor! (No, really, what?)

But you didn't think Ryou and SLD would just concede gracefully and drift off into the sunset, licking their wounds, did you? Oh, no no no. Next morning, they call in papa-boss-man to walk in on the empty-apartment-cum-love-nest. And oh yes, dear readers, the shit hits the fan.

Ritsu is evicted, Shou is pissed, and Ryou says something horribly hypocritical about Shou and Ritsu's relationship. At this point, the entire audience is facepalming. However,  hope still manages to survive as Shou manages to shout off the balcony at Ritsu, "wait at the park!"

(I'm probably getting a bit too detailed now, aren't I? Sorry about that; I just need you all to know why you shouldn't watch this movie. I can't risk some dubious reader feeling adventurous and heading off to watch this alone and unsupervised, then coming back to whine about the psychological aftermath.)

Cut to... who knows when, as Shou is still wearing the same clothes (but it seems to be a few hours later at least), and Ryou is bringing flowers again, this time white. (Oh, right--we learned earlier that it was Ritsu who liked red, and that Shou had always liked white best. Ryou was suitably shaken by not knowing this about his brother, and that's where we should have seen this all coming.) Ryou is happy that Shou is no longer mad at him (after a few hours? really?), but freaks out when Shou insists that he's going to go and see Ritsu and be with him, despite papa-boss-man's issues with it.

And then the shit hits the fan again.

(I really don't mean to swear this much, dear readers, it just appears that this movie brings out the very worst in me.)

Ryou throws himself at Shou, saying that (gasp) he loves him, and then we are treated to some incestuous sparring before Shou manages to throw his romantically confused sibling off, asking what the heck's wrong with him, they're brothers! Ryou says that he hates that (or just the terminology perhaps, I'm not sure), and tries once more, insisting that he'll never give his brother to anyone. A regular Casanova. But, huzzah! Shou both throws him off again and knocks over the flowers-- his chastity is saved and the camera is discovered! Oh, Ryou's in trouble now. Shou runs out of the room, heading for the door to the apartment and ultimately, Ritsu. Hooray, we think--this is going to end well after all! Good will triumph, and incest evil will surely be squashed underfoot!

But no. Somehow, spitting in the face of physics, reason, logic, and internal medicine, this ends horribly.

Like we didn't know from the beginning anyway. 

Somehow, Ryou gets outside the apartment first. Somehow, he kills Shou with what appears to be a book to the forehead. Somehow, this is a decent ending for the movie, as we we are left with a quick scene of Ritsu waiting endlessly in "the park", and then another of Ryou, giant grin on his face, carrying more and more white flowers up to Shou's room, where he is now laid out surrounded by them, presumably naked, cold and dead. The movie closes with Ryou (also presumably naked, though not so much dead) curled up around his corpse of a brother amongst the white flowers.


What. The. Hell.

No, I don't understand it, and I certainly don't condone it.

If you are an angst...enthusiast, by all means. Watch this movie. Revel in the pointlessness, the (not really) unexpected incest, the necrophiliac ending and, of course, SLD and his severely awkward motions that are meant to be sexy and lecherous.

But if not?

Avoid it like the plague.

Seriously. I cannot recommend avoiding this movie enough.


And, of course, the icing on the cake: not one of the "kissing" scenes in this movie is actually real. That's right, neither of these actors are mature enough to lock lips for the sake of a role--instead, each time we are "fooled" by camera angles and awkwardly tilted heads, lending as much warmth and compassion to the main relationship as a dead fish.

Just ruin everything, why don't you.

I need to go watch Ai no Kotodama again... or even Itsuka no Kimi e. Anything to effectively replace this in my "BL Movie" memory banks.

Of course, I say that, and then I go and post about it. Truly, my magnanimity knows no bounds: that I would go so far as to relive this film to warn the public against it! Know that my mental anguish was for you, dear readers, all for you!

This is Edo, signing off while wishing that online movie summaries were a bit more informative.

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