Bright Future

Starring: Joe Odagiri, Tadanobu Asano and Tatsuya Fuji
Tartan DVD
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 12 November 2007

Mamoru and Yuji are two directionless friends who work in the same hand towel factory. Their boss ropes them into a bit of furniture moving, which displeases them so much that when he visits Mamoru's apartment they fail to stop him putting his hand in Mamoru's poisonous jelly fish tank. Enraged, the boss confronts Mamoru, only for Mamoru to quit his job. Yuji goes around his bosses house, with a metal pipe to repay the favour only to discover that Mamoru has already killed him. Incarcerated, Mamoru asks Yuji to look after his jellyfish who he is converting from salt to fresh water…

Bright Future (2003) was written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation), who is best known for his urban horror films.

The irony of the films title is that no one in the movie has a bright future; in fact most of them hate their lives. Mamoru (Tadanobu Asano) appears to kill his boss almost on a whim, having no love for his own pointless life he fails to empathise with anyone else. The killing is as brutal as it is meaningless to him. When Yuji (Jo Odagiri) inherits the poisonous jellyfish he also inherits Mamoru's father, who also spends his time fruitlessly mending broken scrap in a salvage shop.

The film winds its rather gentle and aimless way until the Jellyfish gets out, whereupon, Yuji realises that it is following him using the canals, at which point the film takes a more surreal route. Yuji's earlier adulation of Mamoru comes to personal fruition when he is treated like a son by Mamuro's father and finally realises Mamuro's dream of training his jellyfish to survive in fresh water, that is until the jellyfish becomes plural and threatens Japan's food supplies.

To be honest this is not a wholly successful film, it is a slow burner that will not appeal to everyone. That said, the scenes of the escaped jellyfish's and their representation of the bright future (they glow) are handled beautifully. If the film has a message it appears to be that it matters little what you do, it's how you perceive your life that's important.

The disc, as supplied, has no extras though according to the PR blurb it should come with a Behind the Scenes featurette, the Original Theatrical Trailer and Film Notes. It is presented in either Japanese Dolby stereo, 5.1 or DTS, with optional English subtitles. If you have the equipment play the film in DTS as one of the most impressive things about the film is its soundscape.

The film is presented in 1.81: anamorphic aspect ratio. While the soundscape is impressive the quality of the film is not, with much of it looking like it was shot on a particularly cheap video recorder.

Charles Packer

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