If you're familiar with the works of Abbas Kiarostami you'll know that he likes to operate just outside the normal storytelling conventions. His last movie, Certified Copy, was a series of long conversations and his latest is no different. The only problem is the dialogue doesn't cover anything interesting.
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e first meet the heroine of the piece, the pretty college student/call girl Aki (Takanashi), in a bar in Tokyo. She's doing her best to get off the phone as the guy on the other end, her boyfriend Noriaki (Kase), is jealous and prone to violence. Eventually an older man, her pimp Hiroshi (Denden), sits down beside her and gently tells her to get rid of him, urging her instead to see a client, the retired professor Takashi (Okuno). She protests she wants to pick up her grandmother from the train station but Hiroshi is adamant. However, the visit to the old timer's apartment turns out to be the best thing to happen to Aki…
hat we have here is a series of lengthy scenes - the bar, the taxi ride, Takashi's apartment, his car, etc - where nothing of note happens. Aki talks about her boyfriend, listens to the seven messages on her phone, talks about a painting and on and on. Abbas Kiarostami's lack of dramatic action might be his style but he pushes the limits of patience here; the dialogue isn't exactly akin to other writer-directors who like the sound of their own words - Tarantino and Linklater - as conversations here are prone to meandering and tangents. In trying to mimic real conversation, Kiarostami's ear is exceptional, but dialogue has to move the story forward. Things pick up when Takashi drops Aki off at college and runs into the passive-aggressive Noriaki, who has some old-fashioned ideas about marriage. Then we're back to rambles and digressions again.
don't think we're asked to care or root for the characters here, which is fine, but they have to be interesting. Like Someone In Love could have been a short film and a short one at that.
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