I have been looking for this film for ages, ever since I saw Karina promoting it in Himitsu no Arashi-chan. Despite the trailer, I didn’t expect the story to turn out like that. Anyway, to begin this review, let’s start it off with a synopsis.
“Parade” is the story of a strange living situation in a 2LDK apartment (having two bedrooms, a living-dining room, and a kitchen) in suburban Tokyo. There are five residents ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-eight: Ryosuke (Keisuke Koide) a male student with no evidence of any drive; Kotomi (Shihori Kanjiya), an out-of-work aspiring actress who longs for a celebrity boyfriend; Miki (Karina), a heavy-drinking female illustrator; Satoru (Kento Hayashi), a male prostitute with a spectator like attitude toward life; and Naoki (Tatsuya Fujiwara), a salaryman who works for a film distribution company and says strange things in his sleep. The roommates are not in any way romantically involved with one another, but one can see subtle hints of affection and friendship among them. In the end, however, none of them really know each other.
The film progressed by narrating the story behind each character, at the same time telling something about the residents’ relationship with each other. The character build-up was amazing. Somehow, within the first five minutes, I already understood what each of their persona is. Maybe because it was a movie, and time is limited to a mere 120 minutes, everything was introduced quickly – something that I appreciated given that a movie’s first impression usually speaks out what the viewers should expect. You get to like each individually, and all through-out the film the lines thrown were “as expected” of the speaker. I didn’t see any line used out of character.
The plot in itself has to be proud. From the beginning, a sub-plot was already introduced, however, the way Director Isao Yukisada snaked it through the story was splendid. The significance of the criminal was all over the place, but the characters seem to disregard it – a worthy way to develop the plot more and convince the viewers to follow more on the characters’ lives rather than an unnamed crook. I also feel that the attack in the film was the best way to tell the story of the characters although it seemed less grabbing to me. My only concern here is that there were a couple of misplaced life snippets. I feel like there were some scenes that were cut-off to shorten the film, but they were forgettable so I guess it was understandable. I’ve only seen a few movies of Yukisada (Closed Note, Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World) but I liked this one way better than the previous two. I’ve noticed that he likes taking time when the characters are fewer, but with a five-main-cast movie, time was of apt importance.
From here, I’d like to digress from a technical critic to something on a more personal level. I’ve liked Fujiwara Tatsuya’s acting since Battle Royale, and adored him in Death Note. I must say that he hasn’t lost his finesse in acting, and he’s one of the few non-idols that I follow-up on, at least in the film and drama industry. Karina has long dropped her beautiful image for the sake of acting more varied roles, and although I can still see a raw sort of acting in this film, I would want to see her in darker roles. Kanjiya Shihori has a spark of her own; she carried herself well in the film, but it was only because there was a stark contrast between Kotomi and Mirai. She could do with a bit more of improvement, seeing that she has a flawless acting chemistry in scenes with Keisuke Koide, who I believe, was very much natural in portraying a dumb college student. It wasn’t my first time watching Kento Hayashi, but his acting didn’t leave much of a good impression on me in A Little Princess. He still has much to improve on since I didn’t find his role much too difficult to handle.
I liked the musical score. It sort of sucked the audience in the world of Parade.
There’s something though that I didn’t really understand. How come the title was PARADE? Was it because, similarly, in a parade, there are various stories behind the floats? Well, it certainly gave off that feeling. This film is a 4 out of 5, and I recommend this a watch on a casual Friday night with friends.