Dead Run (Shissou), starring Tegoshi Yuya, is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I’ve actually started a list of movies to write about, but when I saw this one, it couldn’t wait. For those who know who Tegoshi Yuya (Tego) is, it may be shocking. He has a cute image, sings mostly happy pop songs and the occasional touching ballad in the two j-pop groups he belongs to, but he is quite the actor as well. He was brilliant as Hasegawa Mirai in the half Japanese/half English film “Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac”, so I wanted to see more from him. Despite recognizing his talent, the thought of him portraying such a dark character never crossed my mind. But I am so glad he accepted the role! This was actually his first attempt at acting and even though he wasn’t very confident, he pulled it off wonderfully. Everyone should know by now that I love a film that feels like a punch in the stomach by the time it’s over, right? Well it’s safe to say that “Dead Run” did just that plus a punch to the head.
To sum it up (without giving away too much): Tego plays Shuji, a middle school kid from a little town called Hama. One day he and his friend discover a church run by a priest with a mysterious past and his life begins to change. His family begins to fall apart and the yakuza (Japanese mob) continues to move in to Hama. Shuji eventually leaves town and heads for Tokyo to see a former classmate (played by Kan Hanae), but things don’t go well along the way. The film also stars Toyokawa Etsushi (Gou-Himetachi no Sengoku), Nakatani Miki (Silk) and Osugi Ren (Umareru). I am still trying to find out if the novel it is based on (by Kiyoshi Shigematsu) has been translated into English. If I find it, I will let you know.
I couldn’t find a trailer for it anywhere, but I found this making of video interesting… Click here to watch
Unfortunately “Dead Run” doesn’t seem to be available on DVD with English subtitles, but you can find it in parts at Nantoka Fansubs. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2. I know fansubs are controversial, but this movie is too good to pass up!