Hatsukoi

2006 [JAPANESE]

Action / Crime / Drama / Romance

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 62%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 284

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 07, 2020 at 02:43 AM

Cast

720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.02 GB
1280*688
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S 1 / 3
1.9 GB
1904*1024
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S 5 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by kcla 8 / 10

watch for the actors but not for the plot

Misuzu is a lonely high schooler abandoned by her family. One day her long-lost brother contacts her. She joins his counter-culture group of friends. Falling in love one of them, Kishi, the intellectual son of a government official. Together they plan the biggest heist in Japanese history.

The first half of the film moves slowly. Yet not much information is conveyed, it's almost as if it were a mood piece on the enervation of strung out rebels. Although these supposed counter-culturists never really do much rebelling I didn't get bored. The actors were charismatic enough to keep my attention. Though considerably lacking in tension, I liked the actors enough that I didn't notice until I saw the reviews here.

Aoi Miyazaki, as Misuzu, is one of the few young actresses able to convey actual depth without using words. this isn't her best work but she still draws you in. Her real-life brother, Masaru Miyazaki, playing her on-screen brother is also quite talented. But the most surprising was Keisuke Koide, as Kishi. I've seen him on Nodame cantabile, a Japanese television series, in which he played the comic relief. Here he turns in a straight performance, showing good versatility.

The director tries but fails to capture the excitement of the 1960s. Misuzu and her brother's friends don't seem to be passionate or knowledgeable about politics or anything for that matter. Although all the friends are introduced in the beginning, one wonders why the director even bothered, as the film doesn't develop them any further. Still each of the actors make surprisingly strong impressions; it's just a shame the director didn't bother to make better use of them and to create a better sense of camaraderie. The second half of the film picks up some speed as it gets into the actual heist. But still there is an odd lack of tension, and the actual event is almost laughingly simple. I didn't mind it but viewers expecting a heist film will.

Reviewed by Yojimbo81 6 / 10

Disappointing rendition of an intriguing story

The largest robbery in Japan's history was a decidedly humdrum affair. On December 10th 1968, a police motorbike intercepted a car transporting bonus money to the factories of Toshiba in Fuchu, Tokyo. Convincing the car's occupants that their vehicle had been rigged with explosives, the rider let them scarper and then pinched it, complete with the contents of its trunk: cases containing 300 million yen. Despite a massive investigation, police never apprehended the culprits, and the case was closed in 1975.

That wouldn't be the end of it, though. Over 30 years later, a little-known writer going by the name of Misuzu Nakahara penned Hatsukoi, an autobiographical novel in which she claimed to be the mysterious rider. At the time of the robbery, she was only a high school student.

It's a ripe topic for filming, and Yukinari Hanawa's picture seems to have a lot stacked in its favor: a decent budget, evocative counter-culture settings and indie it-girl du jour Aoi Miyazaki in the title role. We follow Misuzu as, escaping a dismal home life, she starts hanging out with her brother and his mates at a scummy red light district jazz bar. There, she's drawn to the intelligent, aloof Kishi (Keisuke Koide), who buries his nose in books as he harbors plans for a perfect heist.

Plenty of dramatic potential here, then, but Hatsukoi is a curiously enervated piece of work, forever teetering on the brink between subtle and downright dull. Central to its problems is Miyazaki herself: her Misuzu is little more than a cipher, drifting impassively from one situation to the next. We're left with a gaping hole where the heart of this film should be, and the support cast struggle to fill it.

Given that the veracity of the source novel is hotly disputed, too, it seems odd that Hanawa should choose to do such a straight reading. I found myself longing for the ambiguity of, say, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, where you were never quite sure if the protagonist was a covert operative or merely a crackpot.

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 6 / 10

A Nutshell Review: First Love

Based on the "autobiography" of Misuzu Nakahara, I won't deny that what intrigued me to picking up this DVD was its premise of having it set against Japan's single largest heist to date, where 300 million yen (back in the 60s) was stolen in broad daylight without a loss of life. I've always enjoyed heist movies, though First Love may not be a title that one will automatically associate with a crime. Robbery under audacious circumstances, and one that's based on an historical incident, what's there not to like?

Alas the film decided to mash too much into a movie, what with troubled, idle and idealistic teenagers thrown into the mix to bloat the running time, and a romance that just wasn't. This is no Bonnie and Clyde, and we see how a lonely teenager in search of belonging, get sucked into a group of riotous teens, only to have director Yukinari Hanawa decide to summarize their group dynamics for the aforementioned robbery because the teenagers are getting quite a handful to manage, especially when they do not have much personality to begin with, and have little to show for except to get into fights and having sex.

Aoi Miyazaki stars as Misuzu, the character supposedly based on the writer's real life, or so she claimed. Living with relatives, she soon finds herself gravitating toward a bunch of youths based at the B Jazz Bar, and in a strange initiation rite, gets accepted by the group, led by Ryo (played by Aoi Miyazaki's real life brother Masaru). However, she's still the loner and the quiet one within the gang, and is in contrast to the plenty of empty vessels who make a lot of noise in the group, seeking attention where it's not wanted, especially with the authorities who don't hesitate to use violence on any group of rioting teens.

After a series of slow, emo-inducing scenes where she plays observer, the pace starts to pick up when fellow loner Kishi (Keisuke Koide, of Cyborg, She) begins to put his plan into action. He's quite the patient fellow, in planning way ahead into the future, starting with hooking Misuzu up with an elderly man at a motorcycle shop, in order to teach her how to ride. After successful competency, he drops the bombshell, that she is to help him in his planned heist, and takes her on a recce. It's an extremely simple mission, so simple that it borders on the absurd, like taking candy from the hands of a toddler, without the need for brute force or sophisticated equipment.

It takes some 50 minutes to get to this point, before we get to see Murphy's Law get exacted, and then unfortunately Hanawa's shortcomings to have this wrapped up also got exposed. The film never knew just how to end, and again, plodded along its way to the finale which is quite lacklustre, before decided to stick to the tried and tested. I felt that some 30 minutes could have been shaved off its running time, and the focus put back into the relationship between Misuzu and Kishi.

Since the title both in Chinese and English suggested that hint of romance, that angle could have been explored to more depth. After all, having it all come crashing down with realization in the last 10 minutes doesn't quite cut in, and in so verbatim methods too. It's a bit like a cheat sheet, because all the while both Aoi Miyazaki and Keisuke Koide both played their friendship in very platonic terms. From the angle of the heist and why one would say yes, it wasn't because she was doing it for someone she liked, but rather to repay the attention and acknowledgement given to her, from someone who dished it out in loads. It's more of a lonely person afraid of being cast aside, that she decided to say yes to committing a crime. Not to mention too that she had pretty good cover to shield herself from the potentially massive investigations to follow.

Aftter the statutes of limitations was issued, there still wasn't anyone who owned up to the crime, and I guess Misuzu Nakaharra had capitalized on this to release her so-called autobiography claiming her involvement in the infamous crime. Naturally this incident has become stuff of dramas and movies such as First Love, but this one somehow fell a little bit short in not being able to fully craft itself from a more compelling story. Nothing fancy here, but it somehow worked to a certain degree.

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