Tokyo Eyes

It looks like a thriller, but this sneakily romantic film slyly subverts itself: The gunman terrorizing Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood never kills anyone, and the detective charged with finding him is out-sleuthed by his pouty, pampered younger sister. The Tokyo police are baffled by the crime spree of "Four Eyes," a slight, androgynous youth in Coke-bottle...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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It looks like a thriller, but this sneakily romantic film slyly subverts itself: The gunman terrorizing Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood never kills anyone, and the detective charged with finding him is out-sleuthed by his pouty, pampered younger sister. The Tokyo police are baffled by the crime spree of "Four Eyes," a slight, androgynous youth in Coke-bottle specs who's been roaming the streets with a gun, apparently selecting his victims at random. The odd thing is, though he confronts his targets at point blank range he hasn't actually killed anyone. In fact, he hasn't even hit anyone. But it's only a matter of time before he does, and a young detective named Roy (Tetta Sugimoto) has been charged with apprehending Four Eyes before someone dies. The depressed Roy, whose girlfriend recently dumped him, lives with his 17-year-old sister, Hinano (Hinano Yoshikawa), who knows something he doesn't: She saw Four Eyes, whom she recognizes from the police sketch, on the train on her way home. He was drifting unnoticed through the crowded subway car, filming people with a hidden video camera. Having noted the stop at which he disembarked, Hinano persuades a friend from work (Kaori Mizushima) to help her look for the mysterious young man. Hinano not only finds him, but strikes up a conversation and discovers, to her surprise, that he's not at all what she imagined. Obsessed with music and video games, he seems shy and gentle; he says his name is K (Shinji Takeda), and they spend an afternoon dancing and hanging out at his apartment. Hinano still plans to tell her brother she's found the phantom shooter, but in a fit of pique over what she perceives as Roy's condescending attitude, she instead keeps the information to herself. Hinano gives K a makeover so he'll be less recognizable, and they gradually fall in love. Hinano discovers that K hasn't been threatening people at random &#151 he's been targeting the rude and the exploitative — and that it's no accident that he always misses. Directed and co-written by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Limosin (who originally set the story in Paris, but moved it to Tokyo when financing came through from Japanese sources), this doomed romance has a hint of BREATHLESS (1959) about it, but most resembles the giggly teen romances that saturate the Japanese market with a coolly alienated French twist.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: It looks like a thriller, but this sneakily romantic film slyly subverts itself: The gunman terrorizing Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood never kills anyone, and the detective charged with finding him is out-sleuthed by his pouty, pampered younger sister. The… (more)

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