A Road Stained Crimson (Akai Kisetsu) (tbc)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byJennifer Tate05/10/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

A Road Stained Crimson is an explosive and stylishly shot film debut from filmmaker Tetsuhiko Nono, but there are times when this dishevelled Japanese thriller comes across as slightly contrived.

What’s it all about?
Written and directed by Tetsuhiko Nono, A Road Stained Crimson follows the life of professional killer Ken (Hirofumi Arai), who is trying to break away from the Yakuza. Living a normal life as a motorcycle repairman under the protective, motherly watch of Yoko (Jun Fubiki), Ken’s former life as a hitman soon comes back to haunt him in the form of his ruthless ex-boss, Akira (Jun Murakami). Pressured to return to his life of crime and torn between his past and present, Ken meets Tsuyoshi (Niinobu Ryomei), an orphaned teenage boy with a burning rage and passion for destruction, who inspires Ken to take him with him on the road to redemption, where he plans to put an end to the past that haunts him.

The Good
A Road Stained Crimson is an explosively loud and impressive feature debut from Tetsuhiko Nono, and its stylish, slick camerawork adds palpable intensity to what is, quite frankly, an enigmatic and exhilarating film. The vivacious soundtrack also adds a higher dose of energy to this fast-paced yet slow burner of a film and Hirofumi Arai’s leading performance is authentic and impressive. Finally, A Road Stained Crimson features some pretty notable stunts, and does a good job in concealing its low budget.

The Bad
Unfortunately, A Road Stained Crimson does make mistakes at times. Its pacing, which is temperamental, doesn’t quite create a steady flow of action and emotional development, and at times the film is a little difficult to be credible. The main character, Ken, although brought to life well, generally doesn’t possess any relatable or desirable human traits, and as a result he becomes increasingly difficult to warm to or root for. Finally, a few scenes try a little too hard at creating poignant drama, intensity and self-realisation and so A Road Stained Crimson occasionally comes across as a little contrived; but, for a first time filmmaker, this trait can certainly be overlooked this once.

Worth seeing?
Despite some stylish camerawork and some electrifying scenes, A Road Stained Crimson won’t get your heart fully racing, but it’s worth a watch to see Tetsuhiko Nono’s great potential as a super slick filmmaker.

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Content updated: 16/02/2019 12:15

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