Starring: Masaki Suda, Gô Ayano, Fumino Kimura
Director: Tomorô Taguchi
Running Time: 121 mins
Piece Of Cake is a Japanese film about a woman stuck in an unhealthy relationship who finds the perfect man, however her new partner struggles to break free from his own previous romance.
Piece Of Cake is a film with a strong premise for conflict and emotional dilemmas that’s unfortunately squandered by the age-old problems of generic romance, with the film’s first act proving fresh and intriguing, but the story taking a real dive over the course of the latter half to something a whole lot less engrossing.
Let’s start on the bright side, however, with the part of the story that does offer up some really good drama, and that’s the first act. On the one hand, you have the immediate drama of a young woman in a difficult relationship trying to break free, and the emotional sense of relief and freedom when she does, and on the other, you have the man who’s perfectly willing to be with her, but just not willing to break away from his current partner.
That in particular proves an interesting premise, because although you may think the premise of someone wanting to be with someone else is a very generic concept, the role reversal of seeing it from the other side works really well, and feels really fresh in the midst of all the romantic movies of recent years.
With our main woman doing everything in a beautiful new relationship, seeing a man struggling to move away from his current girlfriend out of a sense of duty, rather than anything a little more melodramatic, is really interesting to see, creating a strong conflict right the way through the first act that proves for a genuinely intriguing watch.
Unfortunately, there’s a point where that main story sees a major shift, and that unique take on an age-old premise just doesn’t work as well, with the central relationship losing the same emotional power and dramatic intrigue it had had earlier on, and instead moving towards a romance plot that we really have seen a good few times before.
What’s more is that the movie becomes very confused as to what sort of romantic drama it really wants to be. The first act blends strong and often dark drama with blissful romance very effectively, but as the story becomes more generic and less impressive, there becomes a very clear and jarring divide between the dark side of the story and the lighter side, meaning that, as a viewer, you’re torn as to how to watch the movie and how seriously you should take it throughout, which is very frustrating to see.
Overall, I was impressed at times by Piece Of Cake. With a strong opening act that works well throughout and brings something new to a classic premise, it’s an engaging watch, however the film really takes a dive over the course of its latter half, and never really manages to retain that striking balance of dark and light drama throughout, making for a frustrating run to the finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0.