Review copy provided by Signature Entertainment
Takashi Miike is an interesting director, he has directed 103 films in his lifetime. While I’ve not seen all of his films (I’ve only seen “13 Assassins”) from what I’ve heard he is very much a hit or miss film maker. “First Love” is very much a hit, this film is very weird but super engaging and a load of fun from beginning to end. The plot focuses on a young boxer who is diagnosed with an untreatable brain tumour. Due to circumstances out with his control, he is caught up in a drug plot along with a call girl.
While the plot is simple there’s a lot going on at once but its never confusing or hard to follow. I was honestly full engaged from the moment you see a persons head just brutally decapitated. However do not go into this film expecting an action thrill ride from beginning to end like the trailers let on, it is definitely more focused on the story and the humour than the action. But when the action happens its off the wall insane and just fun, it was edited great and its well shot apart from a few moments were the camera is a bit to close for my liking.
The acting is really good. Masataka Kubota (Tokyo Ghoul, 13 Assassins) is really solid as Leo, I think he’s a true standout as the leading male, he is super engaging and you feel bad for him when the film needs you to. Sakurako Konishi is also great as Monica, she has the hardest role to pull off as she has to be believable during some of the weirder scenes in the film. Both actors have great chemistry together and it is great seeing their relationship blossom throughout the film.
I do feel with any other director this film could have been a tonal mess, but Takashi Miike does a great job switching between the serious moments of dealing with drug addiction and cancer with the off the wall insanity that happens. If I had any issues with the film is that the CGI is not good. I also feel some plot moments are really predictable and the ending is a bit confusing to me.
While “First Love” is not the Tarantino-style rollercoaster one of the trailers says it is, to me that’s a great thing. This is a great Takashi Miike film its an off the wall crime film that is just flat out entertaining.
First Love is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray