Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fantastic Fest 2011 movie review- BODY TEMPERATURE- She said

Directed by Takaomi Ogata
Starring: Chavetaro Ishizaki and Rin Sakuragi
Synopsis: A young man has had a long relationship with his sex doll, and when a new girl enters the picture, his life begins to get a tad complicated.

Well, if you've seen one story about a relationship with a sex doll, you've seen them all.  Man and doll meet; they fall in love and start a life together; they go on dates; then a real woman enters the mans life.  And I bet you can fill in the blanks for the rest of the film.

BODY TEMPERATURE follows our young man as he goes about his life with his live-in sex doll that has been with him for six years.  He loves her and sees her as real to the point where we, the audience, notice that the doll is portrayed by a real human.  He takes her on dates to the bowling alley, buys her lingerie, and she even has her own room in his house.  In many ways, he's actually a really good, um, boyfriend to her, but then again, there's no conflict.  Then Rinko enters his life.  Amazingly, she looks exactly like his gal at home.  He attempts to woo her, but like most real relationships, there are some hurdles to get over.

The movie is fairly short at 72 minutes, but it feels much, much longer.  Director Ogata said he wanted to take the concept of a man's obsession with a sex doll and wanted to make it solely about the man and the make believe world he has created for himself.  Mission accomplished, but unfortunately, the final product becomes tedious and boring.  The mundane aspects of the man's life is suppose to be this overtly symbolic representation of obsession and isolation.  I get it, but Ogata could have made a cleaner short film and be much more effective.  It seems that he wanted to take up the extra 20 minutes with artsy if not slightly pretentious cinematography.

I understand the rationale of having a real human portray the sex doll for most of the film.  The guy is projecting his fantasy and becomes disillusioned to the point where he believes she's real.  However, I became distracted by the slight movements of the actress.  Even though she was tremendous for her part, there's still a little involuntary motion called breathing that is noticeable in many scenes.  If I didn't walk in knowing the premise, I might have assumed this was a sick, paralyzed or even dead sister or girlfriend that he decided to keep around.  Which, if possible, would have upped the creep factor even more.

 There are some pretty imagery; however, the some shots just seem to be artsy for the sake of being artsy and doesn't add much of anything to the story.  Overall the movie lacks any real depth and suffers tremendously from pacing.

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