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Monday, May 15, 2017

Poison berry in my brain (2015)


Country: Japan
Format: movie
Genre: surreal, psychological
Cast: Maki Yoko, Furukawa Yuki, Songha, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Nishijima Hideyoshi, Yoshida Yo, Sakurada Hiyori, Asano Kazuyuki,
Synopsis: Sakura Ichiko is a freelance writer who is moving towards her breakthrough with her first book. While being single 30-old year woman, she is looking for a man with who to spend her life together. She meets Saotome who makes her heart beat for the first time in while. At the same time in side her head is going on a debate between 5 about what is the best for Sakura to have happy and stable life.
Rating: 1/5
This must be the weirdest movie I have seen lately and to confess, I still have not understood the point of the movie or what it wanted to say. That we have to love ourselves before loving others? That sometimes doing the things we love and being with people we love does not actually guarantee our happiness? That no matter what in the end life is just a circle and most of the time we just end up doing the same mistakes over and over again? Not sure, but these were the thoughts I caught after finishing it.


I do not even know how to describe Sakura Ichiko. The big mess going on in Sakura's head made it all look really unstable and in the end she seemed a bit naive or ignorant about the world surrounding her. The only normal moments when she actually looked like a human being was in her memories. She made most of the decisions based on her emotions without thinking about other people - it was both with Oshi and Saotome. It was made to look as if she was the victim in many things, but most of the time she actually had things going good, but it was just her over-analyzing, jumping to wrong conclusions and not talking about her problems that caused most of the problems. Also, I must say that I absolutely hate her way of wearing hats. Who does that? I did not enjoy Maki Yoko's acting as the whole movie she looked like a puppet doll - almost not reacting at all and her eyes looked so empty as if she was never thinking at all. Or if she was made to act this way, then I just feel l sorry for her.
Saotome is a struggling artist who is looking for his breakthrough too, but faces more difficult reality than Sakura. To me it seemed as if he was looking for a stable rock, a person on who he can rely and who will give him the emotional balance, but at the same time he still had not understood it himself, and that lead him to act in wrong ways that he understood much later. I see it as if this was the "growing-time" of him when he mentally grows and understands what he wants and needs from life. In many places it is said as if Saotome was younger than Sakura, and to be honest, he acts also like a small brat in many situations, yet in movie there is also said that "he is 30, right?". So it was another thing that left me totally confused, because I did not understand if he was younger or not. Literally, the only things I liked about him where that 1) he is an artist 2) his surname is the same as my favorite manga character 3) he was played by Furukawa Yuki. To be honest, I actually felt that Sakura liked him only because he was "kinda hot", but since the start she never showed to be deeply interested in him and the fact that she "hide" the fact that they are dating for so long, already predicts that it is not going to be a stable relationship.
The third part of our love-triangle is Ochi, who is Sakura's editor and somehow knows Saotome before. He is successful and has serious personality, which makes it difficult for him to approach women in romantic way. Even though I would say that give him 1-2 years and women will be circling around him as bees around honey tree. I would say that he was the most reasonable character and definitely the most mature one in the whole movie. Songha is more known in theater than for his roles in movies.
And now we reach the most messy part of the movie aka "what the f*** is going on inside Sakura's head"- there are 5 different "people": Reason - Yoshida, Positive - Ishibashi , Negative - Ikeda, Impulse - Hatoko, Memory - Kishi. Each of them have their own ideas and thoughts what is the best for Sakura, even though in reality you can see that they can almost never agree nor anyone of them has actually a good idea. You would like to think that 5 heads are smarter than 1, but not in this case.
In addition, no matter how you look at it, it seemed as if Ikeda was definitely more dominating Sakura's emotions than any of the others as most of the time Sakura was rather depressing and jumping to negative conclusions. I felt that the main idea of those characters was that viewers could find similarities with their own actions and emotions, but in the end for me everything was very messy and did not make any sense.
It was even weirder as Ishibashi seemed to be so active in the discussion, yet he could not change the things for positive and when things get through he suddenly falls to coma, with no exact reason. About Kishi, I felt as if he was always bringing back just the negative connections. I did not like how they portrayed "impulsive" at all. For me impulsive is doing unexpected actions and stepping out of the comfort zone, not childish naive crush. As for the last, I felt as if Reason was not doing his job at all and not keeping things in order. Basically, he just followed everybody else' opinions and was not rational at all. I got so pissed off from their fights and screaming that for a second I literally closed the movie so that I would not have to watch it more.. until Yanne said to me "You already watched half of it, just try to suffer a bit more".
And I will not even start about what was going on with this woman in latex. Not just that horrible "hooker"-outfit, she also made Sakura make bad choices and her make-up made her look as if she was a zombie or she had been frozen for previous 120 years. In addition, I would have liked if their names would have had some connection with what they represented, but it seemed as if the names were just put randomly. I am a person who loves details and exactly these kind on details are what play a big role for me.
Many people compare it with Disney's "Inside Out" that came out the same year, but for sure "Inside out" has much better adaption of the "emotions inside the brain" than this movie has. No matter what I do not get the same feeling or understanding from "Poison berry in my brain" that I got from "Inside out". I guess in every way "Poison berry in my brain" left the story a bit too confusing and I felt that the "emotions" where having too many other emotions and ideas next to their own.
One thing that I did like about the movie was the "castle on the cloud" as it represents the surreal things in life or a fantasy, but I wished that they had brought out the meaning in a better way or if I misunderstood it, then given it a real meaning. The overall idea of the movie is very promising, but the execution of the movie itself is just plainly bad.
The movie definitely has an unusual set-up and it might be a bit difficult to follow the timeline. The movie does not explain many things and skips the most important points, so you just have to make your own conclusions of what happened.
To conclude it all, I definitely had great expectations for it and hoped to have a bit of psychological journey, but it all ended up as a jumble of nothing. I hope that some of you enjoy this movie more than me and feel free to let me know your ideas.


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