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Blue Spring (2001)

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Ranked #4,620
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A group of a run-down Tokyo high school students face the struggles of growing up, growing apart from their friends and worrying about their future, while living in a highly violent environment. --IMDb
Ryhei Matsuda
Ryhei Matsuda
Hirofumi Arai
Hirofumi Arai
Ssuke Takaoka
Ssuke Takaoka
Ysuke Ohshiba
Ysuke Ohshiba
Yta Yamazaki
Yta Yamazaki
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Review by Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg
Added: May 29, 2007
The film opens at the all-boy Asahi High School, on the day of its 25th graduation ceremony, and we see a teacher fleeing for his life as he is being chased by several enraged students. Onlooking from atop the school's building is a group of boys who are relishing in their step up as seniors for the new school year. A very risky game is soon begun amongst them. The object is to see how many times one can clap their hands in-between releasing themselves from the outside of a railing and then catching back onto it, with nothing but a 50 foot fall to the ground to catch them. The person who is able to last the longest will be deemed boss of their gang. Withstanding the longest, at 8 claps, is Kujo.

I'm sure you might be able to guess that this movie won't be displaying a normal school environment. The teachers do nothing to enforce authority and are shown little respect in turn. The gang of senior students constantly skips class, sprays graffiti all over the place, and dishes out various violent assaults. These boys do as they please by living their lives without much concern towards anything, especially their own futures; and that's what Blue Spring wants us to realize. For the most part, they only have dreams and fantasies of their future, which is very minimal in respect because they don't have any plans or actual goals to achieve. One kid who expresses his dream of becoming a baseball player, which he has fine potential for but due to his vacant ambition, throws it away and joins the yakuza when asked. His decision is an easy way out for confronting his fear of taking on responsibility and accepting the fact that you can't always get what you want unless you make the effort to attain it.

Gradually, Kujo does grow to be reflective upon his life, aware that this current free ride won't last forever, nor will it help get him anywhere he wants to be. Once Kujo's disinterest in being part of the gang is acknowledged by his long-time buddy Aoki, he becomes irritated by Kujo's newfound indifference over what he's come to strongly uphold. This leads to Aoki transforming into a dominating force, creating a power struggle against Kujo. During this second half of the story, I would like to have seen more development in their relationship because it seems slightly rushed once the credits roll.

The entire setting is within and around the high school, which works well to portray how these kids don't acknowledge the real world outside of their school boundaries. For the soundtrack, we hear songs by the punk inspired band Thee Michelle Gunn Elephant that accent the film perfectly in tone of the rebellious, angst-ridden attitudes presented by these youths. Ryuhei Matsuda plays the role as the leading character Kujo exceptionally, along with everyone else performing their part in an equally suitable manner. In the overall presentation of Blue Spring, we are offered a collectively cool story, given some thoughtful social commentary, and shown a poetic look at how disaffected adolescents view the reality of having to grow up - all of which will pleasantly hold your attention the whole way through.

8.4/10
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