Like his different New York Movie Competition choice, “Drive My Automotive,” Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s anthology, “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” covers themes of love and betrayal whereas twisting the narrative in sudden instructions. Damaged into three segments associated solely by their penchant for role-playing characters, the movie takes simply over two hours to immerse us within the lives of a number of ladies in Japan. Every story ends with a brief credit sequence to make sure we don’t waste any time making an attempt to tie characters collectively. As with all anthology collections, some components work higher than others. However even when the standard dips barely, we stay constantly intrigued. All three tales are full of complexities that evade easy characterizations and summations.
Every episode has an intelligent title that warrants introspection as soon as the story ends. The primary of the three, “Magic (Or One thing Much less Assuring),” opens with an engrossing taxi journey shared by finest buddies Meiko (Furukawa Kotone) and Tsugumi (Hyunri). Hamaguchi lets the journey unfold at a leisurely tempo—it appears that evidently cab is driving round perpetually—however the dialog is so good we don’t need it to finish. Tsugumi is gushing to her girlfriend in regards to the man she’d gone on a date with the evening earlier than. Because the giddy particulars spill, Meiko feels an uncomfortable sense of familiarity—is it doable Tsugumi is speaking about her ex-boyfriend, Kazuaki (Nakajima Ayumu)? Meiko pays a go to him and discovers that he’s certainly the person who charmed her finest buddy.
Nevertheless, Kazuaki wasn’t so truthful in describing his prior relationship to Tsugumi, which leads Meiko to a brutal collection of corrections, every of which Kazuaki disputes. Listening to about your individual break-up via the opposite individual’s interpretation is a jarring idea, and Hamaguchi’s script milks the usually terrifying forwards and backward argument over the reality for optimum impact. Kotone has a really arduous function to play right here, she’s half avenging angel, a component wounded and responsible former lover, and without the robust writing, Meiko would have come off merely as a scorned girl tormenting her ex. She toys with Kazuaki’s emotions, however, she additionally lays out her personal grievances in regards to the relationship and what led her to cheat on him. Our allegiance swings between Meiko and Kazuaki as the stress mounts. The suspense heightens when the three of them by accident wind up in the identical restaurant. Will Meiko fake she doesn’t know her ex-lover, or will she blow up the scenario and make collateral injury to Tsugumi?
The second episode, “Door Vast Open,” options an older girl, Nao (Mori Katsuki) concerned in an affair with a youthful school scholar, Sasaki (Kai Shouma). Sasaki is first seen begging his trainer Segawa (Shibukawa Kiyohiko) to not fail him. Segawa is unmoved, costing Sasaki a number of future alternatives. As revenge, he convinces Nao to lure Segawa into “a honeytrap” than expose him, thereby ruining the newfound fame Segawa has obtained from his hit novel. This gained’t be as simple as both of them thinks because the professor could be very adamant about leaving his door open in order that nobody can assume something untoward is going on in his workplace.
Nao tells Sasaki in regards to the profound impact a particular chapter of Segawa’s guide had on her. It’s what she’s going to use in her plan to lure the unsuspecting professor into her erotic lure. Hamaguchi lets us hear this whole part of the guide, a torrent of scrumptious filth learn in a tour-de-force efficiency by Katsuki. She’s particularly good within the moments when she should mood her efficiency as a consequence of that open workplace door. Segawa is turned on, however not the way in which both we or Nao anticipate. What follows is an enchanting verbal dance between the 2 actors. The story culminates in two ironic twists that make this probably the most intriguing story.
The ultimate episode, “As soon as Once more,” additionally has a twist I gained’t reveal, besides to say it leads to a really poignant and touching exploration of its characters’ pasts. The story of two classmates, Nana (Kawai Aoba) and Moka (Urabe Fusako), who reunite after a high school reunion, “As soon as Once more” begins out as an exploration of one set of reminiscences solely to bend towards a more modern, maybe manufactured collection of occasions. Every girl is conscious of the ruse they’re partaking in, opting to be as inventive as doable in service to a purely therapeutic, cathartic consequence. Hamaguchi makes use of a practice station as each the assembly and the departing factors for his characters, evoking the emotion-filled approach this location had been utilized in many a previous Hollywood melodrama. Aoba and Fusako are excellent, every taking the lead for half of the vignette, manufacturing fictions far happier than the reality could also be.
“Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” is a love letter to the artwork of spinning a superb yarn, but it surely’s additionally a sharply noticed paean to the lies and truths we inform ourselves in order that we could operate from the day in the present day. Hamaguchi leaves every story considerably open-ended, giving the phantasm that these lives will proceed after our consideration has been diverted to the subsequent narrative. Every week after I noticed this film, I used to be nonetheless enthusiastic about its characters.