Takeshi Maruyama’s latest is one with an unusual feel. An ensemble piece made up of interrelated tales, the most likely outcome for Spaghetti Code Love would have been a confusing mess of a film. Somehow, despite risking a drop in pace in the middle, the exact opposite happens here and you’re rewarded for sticking with a daunting initial task.
Why daunting? Well, I lost count of how many stories there were. There was a woman at a pachinko arcade, a struggling photographer, an angry model, a nervous busker, a clingy wife, an emotionally distant young couple, two school kids planning their deaths, an even young student planning his entire life, a woman wasting money on a psychic and her neighbour who is addicted to Skippy peanut butter. I certainly missed a few!
Somehow, the film manages to keep you abreast of all of these varied stories, all of which play out in a beautifully shot Tokyo. Not only that, but they build to a crescendo and are somehow tied together in a neatly positive conclusion across the board.
I’m glad I was fairly focused and in the mood to be challenged, but I’m worried that if I’d been cloudy of mind I may have struggled to keep up. For international audiences, the sheer volume of stories might make the film a little inaccessible.
The standout plot thread for me involved the brilliant Tôko Miura (who recently starred in the Oscar-nominated Drive My Car) as a musician grappling with her own self-confidence. In an ensemble cast full of talent, I found her woes hugely relatable and her delivery was highly memorable.
Certainly worth watching.
Note: I watched this as part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme at Broadway in Nottingham, an annual festival that offers British cinema goers a first look at the latest cinematic releases from Japan.