Reviews of Monday
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Monday morning. A man wakes up in a hotel with amnesia. He is dressed in a rumpled dark suit. In a pocket, he finds a packet of purification salt, used in funerals for warding off evil spirits. He steps out of his room and a bellboy freezes in his tracks, staring in abject horror. Returning to his room, the man recalls a funeral. There was a bizarre wake during which the deceased’s doctor had phoned, informing the mourners that the corpse’s pacemaker was still functioning. Unless removed prior to cremation, the battery would explode.
Thus begins the strange, escalating nightmare of Takagi (Shinichi Tsutsumi) as he begins to piece together the surreal events that led him to this hotel room and his epic hangover. Takagi is a meek, servile salaryman, drifting through a dull, aimless life. Yet his recollections of the past weekend reveal that he hadn’t been behaving like himself at all. Or had a cartoonish excess of alcohol induced his true self? Bars, the Yakuza, drugs, a sultry femme fatale, a shotgun, a pocketful of ammo… was any of it real?
The lost amnesiac story is a familiar noir formula, but the execution is far from predictable. Delicious humor seeps out from unexpected sources at the most stunning moments, as Takagi’s wild alter ego starts wrecking his life. Tsutsumi is a fabulous chameleon, deliriously uninhibited but equipped with a poker-face that any comedian would die for. At times, the film’s “message” becomes heavy-handed: how alcoholics scapegoat the drink for his own inherently evil impulses, or how the mere availability of guns cause an exponential increase in violence. But just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Sabu (a.k.a. Hiroyuki Tanaka) throws you for a loop. Maybe it means exactly what you think it does, or maybe it doesn’t. Any way you read it, it’s a wild ride.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.