Xavierpop Does @Shinsedai_Fest – Louis Reviews Daisuke Miyazaki’s ‘End of Night’ 夜が終わる場所
End of The Night is an imaginative film by director Daisuke Miyazaki. Bold and subtle, it stays with the viewer long after the credits have rolled. Reminiscent of the deadpan aesthetic of Takeshi Kitano, it travels further than the simple story initially suggests.
Kojima is a hitman who kills a husband and wife only to discover a crying infant in the house where the family lived. Seeing the child, he makes a call to his mother, letting her know he has found the grandchild she always wanted. Apparently, she wanted twins, but is happy none the less. We skip ahead 15 years to discover the boy, Akira, is now working with his father in what appears to be the family business as he is about to kill a girl about the same age as Akira. Skip ahead another 10 years and now dad is running a bedding store because of the bad economy, while Akira still does hits on the cheap. A chance decision brings him face to face with the same girl who was supposed to have been killed 10 years before. And this, really, is where the movie takes off.
Much of the film has double meaning to both the visual and the dialogue. The apartment he lives in has all the windows blacked out, his father runs a bedding shop, for example, suggest a connection to sleeping. The title itself furthers the idea of sleep, not to mention the various uses of sleep and night as themes through the film in subtle and not so subtle ways. Doors, and gates, are also used in their traditional way to convey change or a new choice.
What is exactly happening to Akira isn’t clear, nor should it be. One part dream, one part surrealist drama, the film cleverly covers it’s real meaning and intent through what initially appears to be a straightforward and pedestrian plot. As the film continues, it becomes obvious there is much more going on than just Akira standing there looking emaciated and sleepy. While Akira hardly speaks, much of his actions give meaning to his intent and direction. This is not a film where the writer sought to explain motivation by having characters explain themselves, but rather by having their actions do the explaining.
With the exception of one murder, there is no killing onscreen. It implies it is happening, but you don’t actually see it. The victims themselves are rather nondescript, and while there is no explanation of how the victims are chosen. This suggests that father and son have not been killing, or perhaps much of what is perceived as killing by Akira is something else entirely. The girl might or might not have died, or might or might not be a part of his current life; it is ultimately up to the viewer to figure it all out. That is the real charm of the film.
Subtle and layered, it a film with high expectations of the viewers attention and energies. If given, it is a rich and rewarding film, if not, one would find it dull and confusing.