093: Recreation (2011)

Yoshihiro Nagata steps away from his regular producer role to write and direct this minimalist debut focusing on the rebellious youth of Japanese suburbs, their indifference to society and each other. 

Finishing school for the summer break, four teenagers parade the streets of Kyushu desperately trying to find interesting ways of filling their spare time. With stealing scooters and bicycles not quite cutting the mustard (or should that be miso?), they go on a hunt to find a new, rebellious gang member. Their hasty decision leads them to local weirdo Tachibana, who provides more savagery than they were anticipating.

Made up predominately of improvised dialogue and handheld, budget-friendly cinematography, Recreation has an intrusive quality that is both appealing yet uncomfortable. That aside, the film has an obstinate line of misogyny throughout, with women used as pawns of sexual desire and Peeping Tom escapades. Although this adds to the disenchanted nature of adolescent culture which Nagata is presenting, it doesn’t therefore make it justifiable.

At it’s core, Recreation feels more like a tedious work in progress rather than the defiant, sluggard movie that it could’ve been. Don’t be a fool, stay in school.

☆☆☆☆

IMDb it.

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