Starring: Yuji Yokoyama, Sakura Nakano, Takushi Tanaka
Director: Hideyuki Tokigawa
Running Time: 67 mins
Radio Love is a Japanese film about a bored radio DJ who begins to think about quitting his job, only to be shown by a series of chance events that his radio show holds a strong connection with the people of the city of Hiroshima.
This is a strange little film. Apart from the fact that it centres on a real-life radio DJ playing a fictional version of himself, it’s a bizarre series of events that, while meant to be abstract and loose, all come together to make somewhat of a misjudged film, never really managing to hit either the comedic or dramatic side of things quite on the nose.
However, let’s start with the biggest positive of all, the fact that this is very different. There are a good few films about characters walking around cities and having their entire world outlook changed by a few small chance events, but none that really take that to an almost incomprehensible fantasy level, brilliantly adding to the quirky atmosphere of everything that goes on here.
What’s more is that the film gives a pleasant and heartwarming portrayal of the city of Hiroshima. It’s not something I expected to come out of the film, but given that the majority of the story revolves around the lead characters strolling around the city contemplating their lives, you get a very detailed and intimate guide around the city, showing a pleasantly human side to the industrial stereotype that it’s known for.
For me, the strangest thing about the film is where things started to fall apart a little bit. Although it’s not immediately apparent, the film does delve into the realms of fantasy, and although it’s not anything like Lord Of The Rings, it is a stretch beyond normal reality.
The problem is that, given that the film starts off as an offbeat, quirky comedy-drama looking at this popular radio DJ’s own boredom, when the fantasy elements come into play, they feel a little out of place, and the same desired effect could have been achieved by keeping things within the bounds of reality, and as such would have made for a slightly more coherent watch.
What’s more is that, come the final act, things start to get really disjointed, and the comedic and dramatic sides of the story almost completely break off into two tangents, making for an overly confusing and messy run to the finish, ending the film on a slightly disappointing note.
Overall, whilst there are elements of Radio Love that work well, particularly its original and quirky vibes early on, as well as its intimate portrayal of the city, it’s an unfortunately disjointed and occasionally incoherent film that misses the mark when it comes to delivering a good comedy-drama, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.8.