Kamikaze Girls

"Good"

Kamikaze Girls Review


An unrequited girls' love story that spins biker gangs and a love of frilly dresses into a fun romp, Kamikaze Girls creates a candy-colored Japan that's hardly more real than a dream but is excellent enough company for its brisk passage across the screen.

The baby-faced teen whose self-centered musings and obsessions make up the bulk of the film, Momoko Ryugasaki (Kyoko Fukada) lives in Shimotsura, what she thinks of as the most remote, podunk corner of Japan. It's a land of small farms and small-minded people more interested in getting a bargain than wearing interesting clothes, a fact that horrifies the fashion-obsessed Momoko to no end. She dreams of living in 18th century France, and rhapsodizes endlessly about the Rococo era, which in her gauzy imaginings seems to be a split between Dangerous Liaisons and an outré fashion spread. Thinking of clothing as an extension of personality, she's disgusted by the people in her hometown (who she imagines as being born and dying in tacky tracksuits) and is constantly working on self-improvement, thinking "When I see clothes I like, I want to become worthy of them." So there she is, walking the lonely roads in her frilly corseted dresses, demure demeanor, parasol and all, living only for her occasional trips to a haute couture shop in Tokyo, many hours away by train.

That's when biker chick Ichiko Shirayuri (Anna Tsuchiya) comes roaring into the film. She's come to Momoko's house to buy some fake Versace (or, as the subtitles would have it, "Ver**ce") - Momoko's dad being a former ace-clothing counterfeiter and she needing money for more high-end togs - and before you know it, they're fast friends. Or at least Ichiko is friends with Momoko, who couldn't care less about this deep-voiced, spitting, greasy overall-wearing girl who's about as far from rococo as could be. It's like an opposites-attract romance, with Ichiko the brazen butch (she likes to head-butt when angry) to Momoko's remote femme, only director/writer Tetsuya Nakashima keeps things on the straight and hetero.

As Kamikaze Girls lives mostly in Momoko's rather dizzy head, it keeps its feet planted firmly in the clouds, with Momoko having a tendency to go flying up into the sky at artistically appropriate times. When Ichiko tells the dramatic story of the heroine of the local girl biker gangs, the style switches from sunny and pastoral to angry anime, slashing swords, roaring motorcycles and all.

Apart from Momoko's slowly burgeoning love/friendship with Ichiko and her desire for a more fabulous life, there isn't a whole lot going on, story-wise - which is not to suggest that this is a slow film. On the contrary, the whole thing zips by at about 80 mph, even when detailing something as exciting (to the girls) as going to Tokyo to get Ichiko's biker gang jacket embroidered. Utterly silly but still thoroughly original, it has more spunk than a half-dozen studio teen flicks.

Reviewed at the New York Asian Film Festival 2005.

Aka Shimotsuma monogatari.

Pop a wheelie!



Kamikaze Girls

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 29th May 2004

Distributed by: Toho Company Ltd.

Production compaines: Amuse Pictures, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Hori Production, Ogura Jimusyo Co., Parco Co. Ltd., Shogakukan, Toho Company, Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Momoko Ryugasaki, as Ichigo Shirayuri, as Momoko's Father, Sadao Abe as Ryuji 'the Unicorn' / Doctor, as Akimi, Shin Yazawa as Miko, as Yakuza Boss, as Momoko's Grandmother, YosiYosi Arakawa as Grocery Store Manager, Katsuhisa Namase as Pachinko Parlor Manager, as Momoko's Mother, Yoshinori Okada as Baby, 'The Stars Shine Bright' Owner

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.