Noise REVIEW: A dark and stylish debut at Raindance Film Festival

Noise REVIEW: A dark and stylish debut at Raindance Film Festival

0 comments 📅30 September 2017, 15:16



Akihabara: an area of Tokyo that’s synonymous with technology, anime, and idol culture. With its bright lights and fun atmosphere you wouldn’t think it would be the scene of a horrible crime, but eight years ago a man drove his truck into a crowd of people and stabbed a dozen people. This incident is the basis for Yusaka Matsumoto’s directorial debut, Noise, which examines the human spirit through the lives of several characters.

Focused predominantly on hard-working idol Misa (Kokoro Shinozaki), teenage runaway Rie (Urara Anjo), and troubled part-time worker Ken (Kohsuke Suzuki), the film presents a sombre look at the repercussions of such an act of violence. Ken’s mother is deep in debt and neglects what’s best for her son; she’s desperate to take any and all money he makes to fund her and her lover’s lifestyle. This makes Ken feel unwanted and hate life, and the only way out he can see is to recreate the events of eight years ago and commit an atrocity of his own.

Misa, meanwhile, works in Akihabara as an aspiring idol trying to be closer to her mother’s spirit and avoid her abusive father. She sings her heart out at night but she’s forced to work in a ‘massage parlour’ to make money for her company. While her manager (Kenji Kohashi) is torn over this, his struggles with his own debts make it hard for him to speak out. Rie just wants to leave home for good, she’s dropped out of school and wants to move in with her immature boyfriend, anything to get away from her pitiful father. By weaving their different narratives together, Matsumoto creates a gripping tale of lost souls trying desperately to find a place to belong.

Each story works in its own way, both separately and intertwined, as the actors give fascinating depictions of broken characters. Kohsuke Suzuki is quietly menacing as Ken at times and, when pushed, desperately frantic in others. Urara Anjo (who is an idol herself for the group OtomeBrave) is convincing as a trying teen, and her need to find a place to belong is evident through her multi-layered presentation. It’s Kokoro Shinozaki, though, who gives the most well-rounded performance as Misa. She is put through so much as a character, and while she remains resilient it is powerful to see how the horrific crime still hurts her almost a decade after the fact. These characters are most certainly the key to why Noise works so well as a narrative.

The only problem, really, is how similar Misa and Rie are as characters in both looks and personality. They both have difficulty coming to terms with the loss of their mothers, both are involved in the idol scene (though this is only implied with Rie) and both have neglectful fathers. This, in addition to the fact that they both sport short blonde hair, which makes it difficult to tell them apart for a while. This is true of other characters as well. Misa’s father (Kentaro Kishi), for example, is seen in both the past and present. While seeing him with a beard and clean-shaven is meant to indicate the change in location, the scenes are interposed so often, and without warning, that it’s difficult to keep up with the story sometimes. Upon second viewing the film is certainly much easier to follow and appreciate, but the very act of watching it again has connotations of its own.

Yusaka Matsumoto has made a bold, spellbinding film with Noise, tackling a difficult topic head-on and challenging its audience to consider the hardships of the lead characters. Again, and again it surprises with its daring narrative, and the stunning work of DOP Kentaro Kishi combined with Banvox’s enticing soundtrack makes this a gripping production. The fact that Noise is Matsumoto’s debut clearly shows that he has a great future ahead of him.

Release: 26 September 2017
From: TBC
Director: Yusaka Matsumoto
Starring: Kokoro Shinozaki, Urara Anjo, Kohsuke Suzuki, Kenji Kohashi, Kentaro Kishi

Noise premiered at the 25th Raindance Film Festival on September 26 and will be screened again on September 30. Tickets for the event can be found here


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