films seen
3
average score
3.83*
nationality
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Rare treats

This World of Ours

Oretachi no Sekai
2007 / 93m - Japan
Drama
This World of Ours poster

Nakajima's first film is not for everybody. It combines the rawness of films like Pornostar and even Irréversible with the poetry and drama of films like Tokyo.Sora.

Solid pieces

When I Kill Myself

Suicchi o Osu Toki
2011 / 110m - Japan
Drama, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
When I Kill Myself poster

Ryo Nakajima's first film (This World Of Ours) blew me away but failed to make a big international splash. Maybe not too surprising as it wasn't the easiest film to sell, but if anything the film made clear that the boy had talent. His second film (Rise Up) passed me by, but I was lucky enough to catch Nakajima's latest. While not as pure as This World Of Ours, there is still plenty to enjoy here.

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The first minutes of Suicchi o Osu Toki are reminiscent of Battle Royale, only a lot darker in tone. Forty kids are taken from their parents and are locked up in a medical facility by decree of the Japanese government. The plan is to try and figure out why suicide rates are on the rise among youngster, so they give each kid a suicide button and monitor them to find out what triggers their suicides. Most kids die within the first year, but a group of 6 manages to survive for 7 years in a row. Until a new warden is assigned to keep an eye on them.

The first half of the film has a strong, dark and brooding atmosphere. The film looks good, support a strong soundtrack and manages to intrigue. Halfway through Nakajima switches gears though, as he lets the plot take the upper hand. Even though a lot is happening, I would've preferred a slower, more pensive approach to the themes Nakajima unearths here. He does fight back with a strong finale, but by then I had somewhat lost interest in what happened to the group. It's a shame, because there is still a lot to like in Suicchio Osu Toki and overall Nakajima delivers a very interesting film. It's an easy recommendation, but sometimes a plot just gets in the way of a potential masterpiece.

Rise Up

2009 / 84m - Japan
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Rise Up poster

A sweet, genuine and slightly dramatized story about two boys and a girl starting a somewhat unlikely friendship. Nakajima is young director and uses this to his advantage, going for a more natural approach to bring some extra depth to the characters. While it lacks something to set it apart from its peers, it's a quality drama nonetheless.