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Blue Spring (Aoi haru) (2001)

  Directed by: Toshiaki Toyoda
Written by: Taiyo Matsumoto, Toshiaki Toyoda
Starring: Hirofumi Arai, Ryuhei Matsuda
Links: Blue Spring on the IMDb, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Bleak" - a review by pearly

Blue Spring confused me at first. Not having ever been a teenage boy, I couldn't relate to the extreme violence and anger these guys had. This led to my biggest criticism of the film: it waited a little too long to give me something to grasp onto; some semblance of a reason to feel for these guys. If this revelation had come a little earlier, I feel that the power of the closing scenes could have been further milked.

To begin, Blue Spring is about a gang of boys at a ruthless school containing no authority figures. In the classroom, the teacher's voice drones on, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his students are paying no attention, wandering in and out as they see fit, or worse. Out in the hallways, the walls are covered in graffiti, and bullies rule.

On the roof, four boys climb over the fence and play the clapping game, where they must clap first once, then twice, and so on, grasping back onto the fence in order to avoid falling to their deaths. The winner of the game celebrates his victory by tagging "Kujo's Turf" on the wall, and God forbid anyone who try to wander through these halls. Kujo (Ryuhei Matsuda) is the new head of the gang, having proved himself.

But Kujo's gang is splitting up. One of them, sick of school and feeling as though he's headed nowhere after losing an important soccer match, leaves to join the yakuza. Another turns to a life of crime of a different sort. Even Kujo himself is beginning to question the validity of his gang, leading Aoki (Hirofumi Arai) to begin a gang of his own.

Bleak is a pretty great word to use to describe this film. There is a constant undercurrent of violence which every so often erupts onto screen, with some scenes rivalling or even surpassing that scene in American History X (1998) (one scene in particular made me think of this). Certainly not for the faint of heart.

Director Toshiaki Toyoda doesn't give himself as much of a chance to show off as he did with his next one, 9 Souls (2003); in terms of visuals, it's mainly black and white, as you combine the black graffiti on white walls with the black uniforms of the students. There are brief respites from this as Kujo joins the school's gardener daily to water his plants. This is all, I'm sure, a metaphor for the minds of the lead characters.

Blue Spring is fairly heavy going, so make sure you're in the right frame of mind to watch it. Besides that, for the gals, there's Matsuda, who, as far as I am concerned, is completely hot. That hair! Dreamy. And for the guys, there's all those things which I have earlier explained that I couldn't relate to. If this is what happens at boy's schools, when I have a kid, I'm going to home-school him.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 21 Sep 2004

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Reader comments

  1. Sugoi !!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Kyousuke on Tue 30 May 2006 05:45 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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