2 Men, 2 Women, 2 Incredible Hours Of Violence.
, 23 Aug 2010
You know how it is when a bunch of lads are out drinking together. One (a producer) challenges the others (both directors) to make a film using just 2 principle actors battling it out in a single location, all to be shot in just one week.
In this case the directors Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus/Azumi/Sky High) and Yukihiko Tsutsumi (20th Century Boys) not only successfully completed the challenge, but they produced 2 fantastic movies that compliment each other perfectly with their differences.
And so from his drunken challenge Shinya Kawai has inspired two of the best films of Asian cinema.
The Aragami is the more traditional of the two, and unsurprisingly, is the offering by Kitamura. Two injured samurai stumble into a remote temple on a storm ridden night. When one awakes he finds himself face to face with a strange man who asks him to kill him.
There is about 50 minutes of dialogue (all brilliantly acted and much of it amusing) before the action kicks off, and when the fighting does begin we witness some incredible swordplay which has been superbly choreographed. At just under an hour and 20 minutes long there is no time wasted. The enitire film takes place inside the temple with period dress costumes.
Though there are only 2 principle actors battling it out (as per the challenge) this film also features 3 small additional roles: the samurai with whom our hero arrives, a mysterious woman who cooks and pours drinks, and a little silent apearance from Tak Sakaguchi at the end.
Aragami is an excellent peice of Asian cinema featuring great acting, fantastic sword fights, and top notch direction.
Like Aragami, 2LDK (2 bed/Living room/Dining room/Kitchen) is a story told in a single night. With it's modern setting it is the polar oposite of Aragami. The whole thing takes place inside a 2 bedroomed condo and there is no messing about with fancy costumes and locations and all that. This all works in it's favour, allowing it to focus purely on the story at hand.
To be honest I was expecting much more of a psychological edge, I imagined this to show how a single insignificant incident can lead to deadly consequences as tensions build and tempers boil, and though technically that is what I got, it happened at such an unrealistic speed that the psychological aspect of the film was left to be blamed on events that took place prior to the events of the film itself.
2LDK is an hour and 10 minutes of 2 young aspiring actresses completely over reacting to the most mundane slights and then basically kicking the living snot out of each other with whatever comes to hand, be it a trophy, a bra, a toilet, a broken hairdryer, or even a chainsaw ('cause I know I like to keep one of those lying around the flat just in case).
There are some rather intense scenes of diologue in which both actresses excell in proving they can do more than scream and weild weapons. The fight scenes themselves are brutal in the extreme but at one point I do believe a scene was cut out. There are no scanty outfits, no flashing of flesh, so don't expect any fan service from this.
2LDK is rough and raw and thoroughly entertaining.
So for 2 incredible films in one look no further than The Duel Project. Very Highly Recommended.
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