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Original Title:

Japan 2003

Drama, Mystery

Masao Takeshita

Taizo Harada
Yűko Fueki
Riho Makise
Ken Mitsuishi
Sawa Suzuki
Eve Masatoh
Masatô Ibu
Kumija Kim

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Story: Junnosuke Mitani (Taizo Harada) is going out on a drink with his girlfriend Miharu Nagumo (Yűko Fueki) who he is together with for half a year now. Since her apartment is closer to the airport and he needs to get his plane early in the morning he sleeps over at her place. While Mitani is already lying down to sleep Miharu wants to buy a few things around the corner. The next morning Mitani wakes up alone, though. There is no trace of his girlfriend, but at first he doesn't think of anything unusual. However, when he still can't get in touch with her days later, he starts to investigate. He isn't sure whether she has become the victim of a crime or not, since apparently someone other than him has been in her apartment in the meantime. Mitani neglects his job while searching for his girlfriend and his female colleague Sanae Suzunoki (Riho Makise) covers for him whenever she can. But he can't afford to give his superior some excuse any longer because an important project needs to be wrapped up. Eventually, Mitani needs to ask himself if his girlfriend maybe had a reason to disappear on her own, because that's what things start to look like...

Review: You won't often stumble across an actually classic love story that doesn't feel like one for most part. "Jump" is rather a mystery romance that touches upon difficult questions of life and gives you a lot of time for reflecting. You should have no illusions about this: "Jump" can be quite lengthy at times, but it makes up for that with a very complex story and many profound questions that especially at the end start to have an impact on you. It's about where we see ourselves in life and where we want ourselves to see. Whether we look back with a melancholic eye or look forward into the future with a feeling of hope. The well written characters bring a warm story to life, which easily could have been emotionally distant as well. For this "Jump" deserves a special word of praise.

Jump - Film Screenshot 11

The movie's story is based on a novel by Shôgo Satô. Accordingly it is very elaborate. At first it almost seems like a detective story in which the goal is to find out what happened to Miharu. The atmosphere of the film never really makes you believe that a classic crime may have been committed, but you can't be certain for sure. But for what reason should Miharu disappear on her own just like that? Maybe Mitani didn't know his girlfriend so well after all? What are her feelings for him if she can leave him like that? Or is there maybe a completely different explanation for all of this? It surely is exciting to follow the numerous hints, but eventually the movie takes a little bit too much time putting the puzzle pieces together.

Jump - Film Screenshot 12

Still, when Mitani's constant efforts start to bear fruits we actually get a satisfying explanation for everything. It's just a shame, though, that we are repeatedly presented with already familiar scenes as if the viewer weren't capable of putting two and two together on his own. Furthermore, it really isn't necessary, particularly during the introduction, to show every single action in detail. This may give "Jump" a very realistic touch, making it look like art house cinema as well, but it's also tiresome and the biggest flaw of the movie. You may be used to see Japanese romantic dramas follow their own pacing, but you needn't approve that if it doesn't serve a certain purpose. Accordingly, "Jump" feels simply too long with its almost two hours running time.

The desperate search of Mitano for his girlfriend makes him neglect his job and leads him to the brink of despair, even the more as he has to blame himself for not waiting for Miharu's return but instead just taking his plane. Yet, the atmosphere never becomes oppressive or depressing. A certain pleasant warmth runs through the movie, as if things were just as they should be. Therefore, "Jump" reminds us a little bit of Shuni Iwaii's "Love Letter", although the world depicted in this movie isn't as dreamy, but rather very realistically captured. Nevertheless, by that the film succeeds even the more to send a pleasant shiver down your back on several occasions towards the end. The ending is a paricularly worthwhile affair since it touches existential questions revolving around love and life.

Jump - Film Screenshot 13

Still, it remains to your own judgment what to make of things, and that's a nice achievement of the movie, too. Should we let go at some point and continue to live our life or is it worth clinging? Maybe a part of us is always clinging to an old love and we need to try looking into the future with a smile nonetheless? The aim of this mystery/romance drama to not simply lull the viewer with a cushy love story, but to encourage him to reflect is commendable and "Jump" may even succeed in doing so. A pacing that is a bit too tiresome may make it difficult to find access for some audiences, though. But you don't often get a romantic drama that moves you more deeply than usual. "Jump" is a mature and at times even profound genre entry.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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