Surviving “Survive Style 5 Plus”

Rarely has a film so engrossing yet so confusing warranted so much attention to detail such as this one, yet Taku Tada's 2004 masterpiece delivers so much replay value that even a second glance still doesn't do the film's many elusive metaphors justice.  Survive Style 5 Plus hits all the high notes on social commentary in such a surreptitious tone that deciphering them alone would be a difficult task to even the most hardcore viewer.  Watching them in a casual light won't suffice the many themes that steamroll their way across.

The movie begins by touting itself as a self-described horror-murder mystery plot, but as you begin diving into the depths of the story, it reveals itself as less murder, and more comedic.  Aside from the opening vignette, there are 4 other threads you'll come across, each one interlapping one another without so much as a warning.  There's the story of 3 burglar friends, a small family, a career-driven woman, and an English speaking assassin / Japanese translator duo. 

As random as it may seem, each thread carries the same central theme of communication.  That is, (subtle spoilers to follow) each thread deals with the multi-faceted theme of communication among lovers, among friends, among the self, and among family.  Focus in on the story of the two lovers, and you'll begin to notice the interaction (or lack of) between the pair if you cut out all the vicious fighting and killing.  The silent conflicts will quickly thereafter begin to unravel, leaving behind a tale of two people incapable of communicating their differences.

Consider that for a moment.  How many times in your own life were you able to unresolve petty differences within your own relationship due to bitter arguments?

As you begin to watch the drama unfold for the other threads, the simple point of communication re-manifests itself over and over.  That, is the subtle genious that makes watching Survive Style 5 Plus an utter delight to experience.  For this lowly blogger, the variety of events that I experienced through my own life was shaped and reshaped in just one short two hour sit through.  It helped me realize the motions of my own life in an almost therapeutic kind of way.

And so to anyone who may feel a little lost in their own life, I would humbly offer this movie as a small retreat.  Watch it slowly, perhaps with a cold beverage at your fingertips.  Rewatch it again, and again…and then go out for some Chinese. 

I guarantee you'll look at life in a different light.

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2 Responses to “Surviving “Survive Style 5 Plus””

  1. 2 patapete October 27, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Yes, this would be a perfect movie for you!

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Random quote of the day: "I like girls, but I'm more into justice."

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