Xavierpop Does @Shinsedai_Fest – Louis Reviews ‘Good For Nothing’ やくたたず

Good for Nothing was written, produced, directed by Sho Miyake, who also did the cinematography. This coming of age film is a small black and white wonder relatively unknown outside of Japan.

The movie follows three boys just out of high school as they enter into their first job and focuses on them trying to find the balance between juvenile delinquency and adult respectability. Working for a home security company, most of the film takes place in the small moments and hours between jobs. Along with their youngish boss, they spend as much time playing and horsing around as they do actually working. Over the course of a winter we find the boys both acting quite mature only to see them digress in the face of the opportunity to go the other way.

Shot in stunning and stark black and white, the film does an amazing job of capturing the manic energy of the boys while they wander through their days. Miyake allows enough room for the actors to wander in and out of frame and focus, resulting in a fantastic job of mimicking the inability of youth to sit still. It is every bit the “film without a frame” the first time director was attempting to make. Rather than try to force the movement within a tight frame, the camera is pulled back in such a way as to give room for the characters to live and breathe, to move and interact.

So much of interactions between the characters, not just the boys, have a marked realism that seems so natural and yet is so difficult to either write or direct. While a character study of the boys, we do get other characters who appear at least partially developed. The reliance on heavy dialogue to explain actions and motivations is pleasantly absent from this film, as it has little to no need of it. There is a flow and ebb to the film’s unmethodical storyline, yet this drama seems to want to get where it goes in its own time. Much like the boys, it’s not really in any hurry to get there, though underneath it all they know they must.

We leave the boys much as we found them, still straddling the small gap between youth and adulthood. The unconventional way this tale is told could only have this as an outcome. They may be, slightly, older, but somewhat wiser, if not ready to act on it yet. It’s not a film about a destination, or the outcome of the boys, but rather the joy of spending that time and space with them.

Good for Nothing marks the first film of Sho Miyake, and it looks like this is a talent with more good things to come.