Film review: La La La at Rock Bottom – Japanese music drama an uplifting tale of second chances
Pop star Subaru Shibutani gives a sensational performance as a thug turned singer in director Nobuhiro Yamashita’s hilarious new film
Director Nobuhiro Yamashita, who scored a massive hit with Linda Linda Linda, delivers another musically fuelled comedy drama about a young hoodlum who finds his voice fronting a traditional pop band.
Fresh out of jail, Osaka thug Shigeo (Subaru Shibutani) gets so badly beaten up he develops amnesia. Staggering upon a live performance by popular band Akainu, he grabs the mic and reveals himself to be an excellent singer. Their young manager Kasumi (Fumi Nikaido) recruits the lad, whom she rechristens Pooch. Though he proves an immediate success, Shigeo’s violent past soon catches up with him.
Subaru Shibutani, frontman of Japanese idol band Kanjani Eight, gives a sensational performance as Shigeo, as vulnerable and vicious as a wounded puppy, yet overflowing with raw talent and untapped emotion. The delightful Fumi Nikaido (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?) offers strong support as Kasumi, who is wise beyond her years and harbouring a damaged past of her own, while seeing the good in the bloodied and battered young man.
Chock-full of humour, heart and genuinely toe-tapping tunes, La La La at Rock Bottom’s deceptively simple premise betrays a powerfully uplifting and life-affirming tale of second chances and finding your true calling.
La La La at Rock Bottom opens on January 21