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Vengeance Can Wait - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Ranbou to Taiki

Japan 2010

Comedy, Drama

Masanori Tominaga

Takayuki Yamada
Tadanobu Asano
Eiko Koike

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Vengeance Can Wait

Story: Banjo (Takayuki Yamada) and his pregnant wife Azusa (Eiko Koike) move into a new neighborhood. Azusa has a bar and her husband is unemployed at the moment. He is looking for a job, but only half-heartedly since he rather enjoys doing nothing. When he wants to introduce himself to his neighbors, he is surprised to find Nanase (Minami), an odd girl that walks around in a sweatsuit in order not to attract men. In fact Nanase almost seems pathologically strange, but Banjo takes a fancy to her. Nanase lives together with her older brother Yamane (Tadanobu Asano), who actually isn't related to her and wants to take revenge on her because of one of her actions in the past. Nanase can't live with someone not liking her and that's the reason why she lives with Yamane. She waits for the day that he comes up with something for his revenge so that he doesn't need to hate her any longer. When Azusa is meeting their neighbors, she instantly wants to move again. She was friends with Nanase in high school until Nanase took away her boyfriend.

Review: There are movies which are so odd that you don't know what to make of them. "Vengeance Can Wait" balances between lengthy/not noteworthy and subtle/brilliant. In the end there will be many viewers who can't relate to the calm, wacky characters of this tragicomedy (?), then again there will also be those who will praise the delicately elaborated individuals and the likewise nuanced acting. Personally, I can clearly see the movie's strengths, but the film's oddities couldn't really strike the right chord with me. The many unusual elements still will leave no doubt that you won't forget this picture so soon, but instead will at least remember it in some sort of way. For whatever it's worth.

Vengeance Can Wait - Film Screenshot 11

First and foremost, it is extremely interesting that neither love nor money are what constitutes the foundation of Nanase's and Yamane's relationship, but the motive of revenge! What Yamane wants to take revenge for remains in the dark for quite a long time, and Nanase's character is so twisted that she lives with him for years, only for him to finally take revenge on her one day. In fact, there are pretty familiar behavior patterns taken here and simply brought to the extreme and to a pathological level. Everyone knows someone who just wants to be liked by everyone and can't live with someone hating him. Regarding Nanase this even goes to such lengths that she completely sacrifices herself. Nevertheless, there ultimately still remains the question if after all the years there maybe hasn't developed a real relationship between Yamane and Nanase after all.

Vengeance Can Wait - Film Screenshot 12

When Banjo is just about to cheat his wife it shows to what an extent Nanase's behavior gets herself into a catch-22, making it absolutely unimportant what she may want. She becomes a pawn, but the other individuals seem to be as badly off. The character's oddities keep up the movie's tension. Furthermore, a lot of what happens on screen seems to be taken right out of a stage play, which shouldn't be a surprise since the movie is based on a stage play by Yukiko Motoya after all. The individuals' actions aren't easy to comprehend at first, but as things progress they work within a frame that may still be hard to grasp, yet can actually be called consistent. The extreme personalities are at times irritating, but in the end they are also the main reason for all the fun on screen.

Initially, Minami ("Sakuran") seems quite fake as Nanase but her character gets more depth as the film moves forward. The same goes for the other individuals as well. Sticking out the most in terms of acting is Tadanobu Asano ("Survive Style 5+"), but Eiko Koike ("2LDK") also scores as a tough wife who isn't as tough as she purports to be. Everyone plays a certain role that loses more and more of its coating. Takayuki Yamada ("MW") is solid as the husband, but together the actors are in a formidable form. However, this doesn't always mean that they can't avoid caricatural moments. Particularly towards the end, when the individuals' complex inner workings are unfolding, those moments luckily aren't to be found anymore.

Vengeance Can Wait - Film Screenshot 13

To put a genre label on "Vengeance Can Wait" is difficult. There are scenes that make you laugh, then again there are others when you don't know whether to laugh or not and lastly there are those that are somewhat shocking. This mix bestows a very unique mood on the movie which won't be everyone's cup of tea. The ending surprises with some unforeseen developments, but once again you get the impression as if you hadn't had any chance to foresee the individuals' behavior in the first place. The quitely captured pictures are sometimes accompanied by a playful score, whereas you can't even tell whether this can really be called a score or not. Director Masanori Tominaga's eagerness to experiment is welcome and the story's characters are certainly fascinating. However, to most viewer's this film will undoubtfully be inaccessible.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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