First Love [Fantastic Fest 2019]

September 21, 20194 min

To say Takahi Miike is a busy man might be an understatement. Over the last thirty years Miike has made over one hundred films, like Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins, and Blade of the Immortal. His films don’t just stay in one lane, but they all have a thread that runs through them all. For his latest First Love, Miike brings it as always and gives you something that is too good not to enjoy.

Leo (Masataka Kubota) is a boxer who has a lot of promise in that world. After taking a hit that knocks him out, he goes to the doctor to check on his health. Once he gets the news it seems things may be worse than he thought and Leo doesn’t have long to live, which can really change your aspect on life. Monica (Sakurako Konishi) is a call girl who is being forced to work off her father’s debt and her and Leo are about to get put in the middle of something that gets crazier as the night goes on. It all begins with a scheme to steal some drugs and to put the blame on someone else, but things never work out as planned and when the situation goes sideways it starts to go wrong at every step. Leo and Monica are pulled deeper into a web that is only getting stickier. Not all is lost though, as the storm Leo and Monica builds they find something more, which makes the night they are trying to survive, so much more worth fighting for.

Miike is known for his action and to be honest his deaths and while First Love has that, it also has so much more. Of course the ‘more’ I’m referring to is heart, something that it has plenty of. Make no mistake Miike is the reason you come, but while you are there you will love Kubota, who plays the strong, but silent type perfectly as his character tries to think of someone else for the first time. Mixed in the action are perfect beats of humor, that takes the severity of what you are seeing and makes it the perfect spoon full of sugar. With its excellent balance of action and humor that Miike does better than most. First Love serves as a fond reminder of why you fall in love with movies in the first place.

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