Archive for October 3rd, 2012

G@me (2003)

Sakuma is a succesful employee for an advertising firm. He is given the task of creating a promotion plan for a new variety of beer produced by the company Mikado which is run by the boss Katsuragi. Sakuma’s plan involves around a theme park and a huge music event featuring bands from around the world. However his idea is shot down by Katsuragi in front of his peers and he is humiliated. Katsuragi is after a more greener environmental theme. Sakuma is rather miffed about his idea being blown out of the water and plans of taking revenge on Katsuragi. Whilst staking out Katsuragi’s house during the a midnight walk, he sees his daughter Juri sneaking out of the house, over the wall and into the street below. He follows her into a hotel where she is trying to get a room for a night and she’s refused. He is told that she is running away from home. He takes her back to his place where they come up with a grand plan to swindle 300 million yen from Juri’s father by saying that she’s been kidnapped. All appears to go as planned with messages being sent back and forth by both parties on a BBS on the internet and despite some minor hitches, Katsuragi agrees as planned to hand over the money for the safe return of his daughter. The money is delivered and Juri is blindfolded willingly and returned safely back. But it’s not the end of the story quite yet as Sakuma is shocked when a TV news report states that Juri has been found murdered but the photo of her is different from the person he’s been plotting the swindle so who is the woman he’s been falling in love and plotting with recently and what is Katsuragi’s involvement in the grand scheme of things?

This movie starring the duo of Yukie Nakama and Naohito Fujiki is a thriller which is not at all what it seems though at first you might think it’s just your usual kidnapping/swindle movie. It’s a little slow starting off but it soon finds its feet. There are many twists and turns in the final third which makes this movie so unpredictable. I never saw the plot change coming so I was pleasantly surprised. OK, so it’s nothing new but the way it’s been executed is very good. The story is made out that the two main leads is playing a game with Katsuragi hence the movie’s title but what Sakuma doesn’t know is that there’s another player in the game who reveals himself to him later on. It’s an intelligent plot with a lot of thought gone into it and there’s plenty of suspense to generate excitement for the viewer though the ending was a little bit useless. I guess it’s still better than the Hollywood ending the viewer could have expected with everybody happy and all smiles. The love angle between the two leads was to be expected but it doesn’t hamper the movie at all.

It was nice to see Yukie Nakama in such a serious role. I’ve only seen her in comedy roles over the years be it Yankumi in Gokusen or Naoko Yamada in Trick so I did enjoy seeing her flex her acting skills. Naohito Fujiko who won an award for his performance as Sakuma is cool, calm and reassured. Seeing him deal with the curveball that happens to him in the final third of the movie is enjoyable. If you regularly watch Japanese TV dramas you know that both leads are capable performers in whatever role they play. They share great chemistry on screen so I enjoyed watching them. They bounce off each other extremely well.

I found G@me to be a very entertaining movie and the plot twists certainly made it all the more better for it. Coupled with two wonderful performances from Yukie Nakama and Naohito Fujiko, this movie is definitely worthy of your attention. It might not win any awards but you won’t go wrong with passing nearly 2 hours of your time watching this movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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