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Asian cinema: Japanese films

Colors of Wind film review: Vertigo meets The Prestige in tragic Japanese romance

This film alludes to other classics such as Leon The Professional and Hitchcock’s Vertigo, but never gets anywhere near their quality. Full of philosophical speculation, this story is lacking in emotion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 7:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 5:57pm

2/5 stars

A twisting, tragic romance involving magicians and their doppelgängers, Colors of Wind appears, on paper at least, to suggest a Japanese reimagining of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. Allusions are also made to Hitchcock’s Vertigo, as a pair of mourning lovers seeking solace in the arms of strangers who resemble their lost partners.

They eventually take refuge in a bewildering extended homage to Luc Besson’s hitman classic Leon: The Professional, but Korean filmmaker Kwak Jae-young’s second Japanese offering never comes close to the clarity or quality of the works to which it inspires.

Before she died, Yuri (Takemi Fujii) tells her boyfriend, Ryo (Yuki Furukawa), that there is a girl in Hokkaido who resembles her. Venturing to the wintry northern island, Ryo soon meets Aya (Fujii again), who is herself in mourning after her boyfriend, an escape artist called Ryu (also Furukawa, sporting a ridiculous pencil moustache), disappeared during a stunt and is feared drowned.

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As they investigate Ryu’s fate, they are inevitably drawn to one another. The film busies itself with philosophical speculation about balance and opposition, illusion and reality, without ever justifying its obsession with the magical arts.

The central performances are as impenetrable as the inhospitable ice tides upon which they seem fixated. They ruminate on the existence of doubles, and – naturally – finding a perfect match, to help make sense of the world’s madness, but the result is inert, chilling and devoid of all emotion.

That this could come from the same man who gave us My Sassy Girl undermines any preconceived notion of a world in balance.

Colors of Wind opens on June 28

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