Starring: Gaku Hamada, Eita, Megumi Seki
Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Running Time: 110 mins
The Foreign Duck, The Native Duck And God In A Coin Locker is a Japanese film about a university student who finds himself wrapped up in the bizarre world of his nextdoor neighbour, learning about his history and relationship with a girl who changed his life.
This is an intriguing, if not bizarre, independent Japanese drama. It’s unpredictable from start to finish, and it features strong performances, excellent atmosphere, subtle humour and a fascinating story throughout, meaning that it’s a little-known film that deserves recognised praise.
Let’s start with the story itself. Told in a somewhat non-linear structure, there’s a lot of unpredictability and unexpected twists throughout. However, don’t think that this is in any way some sort of intense drama, but instead one that is genuinely very understated, but hugely interesting to watch.
Although it may seem a little off at first, if you persevere with this film, it’s hugely rewarding. The bizarre and confusing opening stages are dealt with expertly as the story unfolds even more, opening up avenues that you would never have thought of, and delving into darker and more intriguing atmospheres than it ever lets on initially.
Amidst all of the madness of the flashbacks and the fascinating plot twists, there is some excellent serenity and peace to this film. It may be a weird movie, but it is a genuinely pleasant watch, with calm performances across the board, very clever, understated direction by Yoshihiro Nakamura, and an ingenious soundtrack.
Well, it’s not really a soundtrack actually. This film is complemented by a consistent playing of Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin In The Wind’ throughout. Normally, just one song for a whole movie would seem annoying and repetitive, but the song works in perfect harmony with the serenity of this film, providing a very touching and pleasant atmosphere to the story when some of the stranger stuff begins to happen.
Finally, the performances here are all very strong. Gaku Hamada, as the main character, holds his own in a relatively quiet role against the more flamboyant Eita, who puts in a great turn to provide brilliant mystery to his character that fuels the entire story, making for extra intrigue throughout.
Overall, this gets a 7.8 from me, because of its pleasant watchability alongside its impressive story, performances and directing that keep you intrigued from start to finish.