Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Third

WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot's elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.

“Three small-time crooks — [Shuu,] manager of the Honey Bunny nightclub, Koji, an ex-motorcycle gang leader turned club waiter, and Big Ken, a Korean BBQ chain owner and club regular — desparate to turn their lifes around, manage to pull a successful bank heist in broad daylight and they return to hide out in Honey Bunny. Although they had agreed to each getting an equal third of the money they stole, their greed gets the better of them, with much bargaining and cheating. It turns out, however, they they are not the only ones after the loot. Will they see any of it all all?”

(Text from the Festival's program)

Shuu is the manager for the night club “Honey Bunny” and a horse-race gambler. On his way to the bank to deposit the club's takings he stops at the race tracks. Unexpectedly, he wins but in his excitement loses the bag containing the club's money. The owner is a ruthless yakuza and he fears for his life. However, his friend Maria, a wanna-be actress, help him get a loan from an even ruthless loan-shark so he can pay back the club's money. He has one week to pay back the loan or he dies. He persuades his friend Koji, who works at the “Honey Bunny”, and Ken, one of the customer, to rob a bank. They are all deeply in debts and desperate to turn around their life. They succeed but quarrels over dividing the loot. And, to make their tribulation worse, other parties are also interested in getting their hands on the stolen money!

I was expecting this one to be a third-rate film, but it ended up not so bad after all. It has lots of cheeky humour and movie references that make the movie quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, the plot is so circumvolved (plots and counter plots) that it doesn't really work as each new development make what happened before less credible (but in such comedy, does it really matter?).

Also the premise of the story (a bunch of robbers quarrelling over their loot) is not original at all since I remember seeing a very similar one in another movie titled Crazy-ism. Although this movie is funnier and much more entertaining. Does our trio of incidental robbers succeed to pull through? Actually, we really never know since the movie leaves us with a kind of open ending. Quite clever.

One third (サンブンノイチ / Sanbun no ichi): Japan, 2014, 119 min.; Dir.: Hiroshi Shinagawa; Scr.: Hiroshi Shinagawa (based on a novel by Hanta Kinoshita); Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shuu), Koki Tanaka (Koji), Ryuichi Kosugi (Ken), Mika Nakashima (Maria), Yosuke Kubozuka (Hama), Shinnosuke Ikehata (Shibugaki), Ryo Kimura, Sho Aikawa, Mitsu Dan, Ayumi Shimozono. Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 22nd, 2014 (Cinema Quartier Latin 15, 14h30 – the theatre was three-quarter full but a few people left after the first half-hour) as part of the “Focus on World Cinema” segment.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

One third © 2014 Sanbun no ichi Production Committee.

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