301) Kanikosen (2009) Dir: Hiroyuki Tanaka (aka: Sabu) Not Yet Released Date Seen: September 18, 2009 Rating: 2.75/5
Based on a novel from the '30s by the same name, Hiroyuki Tanaka's adaptation of Takiji Kobayashi's Kanikosen feels like an adaptation that adapts its sources material too literally. Everything, from its fleeting traces of absurdist black humor to its grandstanding speeches about how we're all just cogs in the machine, appears much too obvious to be original. The only significant additions that Tanaka looks to have made in his dismally straight-forward and earnest adaptation is his attempt to connect with a younger audience. The film's "manga-flavored" aesthetic is best evinced by the film's costumes, especially for the film's big baddie (above, on the left), a scarred foreman that struts around in a beige pormanteau brandishing a pimp cane like a cudgel.
The other more obvious sign that the film is targeted for 20-30 year olds is its choice to cast pretty boy pop star Ryuhei Matsuda (on the right) as the rabble-rouser that leads a group of workers on a crab-canning ship to revolt. This is cruelly ironic considering how charmless and easily forgettable Matsuda is. He's perfectly adequate in whatever role he's in but don't expect him, or this star vehicle, to make much of an impression.