Key Of Life
Kagidorobou no method
Directed by Kenji Uchida
What happens when a debt-ridden, suicidal actor accidentally switches his morbid and ruined life with that of a meticulous and wealthy Yakuza assassin? Bay Area trained Director Kenji Uchida answers that question in his wry, modern twist on the classic Howard Hawks-era screwball comedy. After unemployed thespian Kimura, played with an amusing lazy restraint by Teruyuki Kagawa, inadvertently sends hit man Kondo (Masato Sakai) to the hospital with a serious head injury and severe amnesia, the actor takes advantage of the situation by taking on the gangster’s role, trading his own sad existence for one of perpetual thrills. Sakai turns in a hilariously subdued performance as the fierce assassin suddenly transformed into a nonplussed, but still well-organized, amnesiac who ironically takes acting way more seriously than Kimura. Upping the absurdity ante and adding a touch of romantic comedy is Ryoko Hirosue as a seriously repressed book company CEO who is on the prowl for a husband.
Within the mad comic swirl of the action and lunacy of ever-increasing plot twists, Uchida shrewdly explores themes of identity and anonymity.-Gustavus Kundahl
Japanese-born Kenji Uchida studied film at San Francisco State University before returning to Japan to establish himself as a contemporary virtuoso of the restrained screwball comedy. His first comedy, A Stranger of Mine (2005) won several awards at Cannes and was followed by After School (2008). Key of Life has also won awards on the festival circuit, including Best Screenplay at the Shanghai Film Festival.
Producer: Satoshi Akagi, Kazumi Fukase
Screenwriter: Kenji Uchida
Cinematographer: Akira Sako
Editor: Shinichi Fushima
Music: Yûsuke Tanaka
Cast: Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryôko Hirosue