Less a traditional noir film that it's sometimes labeled, and more about character relationships. As a drama/romance, I Am Waiting rarely reaches beauty in its human drama, being more metaphor driven than emotionally poignant. The romantic-drama feels stilted. Still... I'll take this over In the Mood for Love, any day, as the plot, symbols, and themes, concerning conflicted feelings in love are actually non-forced.
A beautiful - and this is the exact term - adjustment to noir classic film, with appropriate deviations from the paradigm: not a femme fatale, although, as usual, immersed in fatalism; the protagonist is a broken character, being a vulnerable vision of the male, close to John Garfield's aura.The restaurant next to a railway is a metaphor of passage, which determines the film's pathos, a contrary sensu.
Empieza como un melodrama (uno que me recuerda a "Noches blancas) y luego apunta al cine negro. Kurahara superficialmente realiza una película sobre mafias y venganza, pero dentro es una historia sobre personajes frágiles, solitarios, decepcionados con la vida. Estos esperan con desesperanza. Luego cambian de parecer a la llegada de su otro yo. Se abrazan, se protegen. Hay un idioma de la sensibilidad bien curado.
Koreyoshi is again doing some riveting things stylistically such as the scene where the characters are just black silhouettes. The story is a more conventional noir fare with themes of pride, love and past. Nevertheless, to watch a classic Japanese noir is part of the joy of this film. To watch what a cinema renowned for it's understated dramas can do with a western genre known for it's extravagance.
Like _Collateral_, this film uses a coincidental connection between the female and male leads', and in both it is (to use words from Braden Valleneres' review) "convenient" and a bit "ridiculous", but whereas in the former (and other films with such connections) it is used to manipulate emotions and the narrative, here it is used to extend the theme of one's inability to escape the past and the associated regrets.
Storytelling has definitely evolved since the 1950's, but there are enough dramatic beats between the two main characters that, eventually, I became invested. Thematically, however, it's about characters who are guilt ridden and punishing themselves through isolation... And this is timeless. There is a lot going on in this film that I think the brisk running time and fast writing may have stifled. Solid film overall.
Maybe "easy" noir, but man does it look good. The boy-meets-girl, boy-lets-girl-go, boy-uses-girl-and-fists-to-save-himself plot is rarely exceptional, but the precise pacing and deliberate character development, up to and through the protagonist's arc of a killer ex-boxer, kept the action taut.