Notable Cast: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Denden, Shugo Oshinari, Kanji Tsuda, Beni Ito, Yoshihiko Hosada, Maya Okano, Chika Uchida, Kanji Furutachi, Houka Kinoshita
I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of Eiji Uchida's newest film, courtesy of Adam Torel, the producer of the film, almost two months ago. I felt very honored to see it so ahead of time, and didn't really know what to expect going into the film. I had followed its production from the get go. Torel's company, Third Window Films, completely 100% funded this film all on their own, marking TWF's full film produced to call their own, via Kickstarter and various other means of obtaining the funds, including the offing of some of Adam's own personal vinyl collection. Dedication right there. I'm bringing this up prior to reviewing the actual film, because this film was shot so fast and rapidly, that I honestly worry it may not be up to snuff with some other films they've distributed, or Adam's produced previously, or even Uchida's previous work for that matter, Greatful Dead, which I adore, but it quickly washed my worries away, and gladly so.
Meet the Lowlifes
Lowlife Love tells the tale of a piece of shit (can I say that?) man played to sleaze perfection by Kiyohiko Shibukawa (And the Mudships Sail Away), who lives his life sleeping around, and more importantly, wanting to make films as a director. Right from the get go, we learn by the way he acts towards the woman he'd slept with, that he doesn't really care about anyone but himself, and that's what I like most about this work. The characters, more often than not save the rare good-doer, are pretty awful people, trying to scrape by in the film industry, or even get a start in it for that matter. I am an aspiring filmmaker myself, so seeing what they go through and what not, isn't quite how I'd handle things, but I digress.
The movie plays out in a series of vignettes of the man trying to get his script off the ground, going to a scummy producer played by Denden (Cold Fish), for some cash. He, too, is sort of a douche in his own right, and well you are starting to get the picture. The film does have a plot, but the plot is sort of isn't too important. He wants his film made, and will do whatever it takes. What I love about this movie, much like Eiji's previous film, is its characters. I honestly can't remember their names, but I loved the lead, and I really liked his partner in crime, who has quite the hilarious arc, and you really care about them, despite their ignorant choices and ways of handling things. Pretty much everyone around them are all crazy as well, and I loved every twisted moment of it.
Like Brother, Like Sister
One of the things I wasn't expecting was the few moments that touched the heart, scattered throughout, and though I won't want to get into any specifics, I will just say there are some nice characters moments that help you seem some ray of light in these otherwise nasty characters. No matter how vile they can be at times, and more often than not, they do mean well in the end, at least some of them, and just want to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of making movies.
Believe it or not, there are some genuinely
touching moments scattered throughout.
Written by Josh Parmer