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DVD Review

DVD cover

Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers


Starring: Ueno Juri
Third Window Films
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 12
Available 23 February 2009

Suzume Katakura is an ordinary housewife, in fact so ordinary she wonders if people even notice her. With her husband away she spends her day immersed in housework and occasionally looking after, Taro, her husband’s turtle. On one ordinary day a happy accident brings a minute advertisement for spies to her attention. She applies and is instantly recruited due to ordinariness making her almost invisible. Now her days are filled with a new wonder as her new found perspective as a spy, makes even her mundane world seem extraordinary...

Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers (Kame wa igai to hayaku oyogu - 2005, 1 hr, 30 min, 13 sec) is a screwball comedy from writer and director Miki Satoshi (In the Pool).

Although the film has its share of eccentric characters the main reason for watching would be Juri Ueno’s portrayal of the lost and lonely Suzume, whose chance finding of the advert allows the film to explore the concepts of what is and is not ordinary.

Along the way she meets a collection of strange characters: some spies, like herself, also finding it surprisingly difficult to remain inconspicuous and others, like the dancing hairdresser, who long for a life less ordinary. It is not unlike Jean-Pierre Jeunets’s Amelie in its wit. Turtles is certainly as endearing with a greater amount of slapstick, but what it lacks is a conclusion, other than ordinary life can be extraordinary. Who knows, maybe that’s enough of a message.

The disc is a bit of a bare bone affair, with only the original theatrical trailer and a bunch of other trailers to distract you. The picture is bright and colourful, audio is stereo Japanese with optional subtitles.

Although not the best in this genre Turtles is non-the-less a quirky and enjoyable way to while away an hour and a half.


Charles Packer

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