Map of the Sounds of Tokyo ~ (Spain, 2009) ~ Netflix Stream

Acclaimed Spanish Director Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words, My Life Without Me) was nominated at Cannes 2009 for a Palme d’Or, but didn’t seal the deal. The film did win the Technical Grand PRize at Cannes that year, and MOTSOT is certainly a very stylish, in fact stylized film. The lovvelyRinko Kikuchi (Naoko in Norwegian Wood) stars as Ryu, a mysterious woman who works in a fish processing plant. But she leads a double life. That’s just her day job. By night she’s a for-hire assassin.

When she’s hired to off David (a turgid performance by Sergi López, Pan’s Labyrinth) she falls in love with him. Sorry. This is where it lost me. The attraction just did not seem believable to me. Miscasting can kill a movie. Many of the scenes are set in a Tokyo “Love Hotel”. I’ve read about these in several novels, but I can’t recall one cropping up in the movies I’ve seen. This one, decorated as a subway car, is certainly…unusual. Many of the scenes are explicit, yet oddly lacking in eroticism. If I watched it again (but I won’t), this is a film that I’d watch with the sound turned off and just focus on the exquisite cinematography. Other than that? Feh!

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