12 August 2015 | rowerivers
Hits All the Noir Clichés
Smokey jazz bar in the rain. Shadowy characters. A sax-heavy soundtrack. All the hard-boiled noir clichés are here. Shunichi (Hironobu Nomura) is a university student who plays a mean sax. He left his father's vigorous training to find the essence of jazz, joining a club group named Tahiti at a jazz bar called Cabaret Stardust. Gangster Takigawa (Takeshi Kaga) often comes in and requests "Left Alone", the old Mal Waldren standard. He likes the way Shunichi plays it, and the two start talking about it and music in general. But Takigawa shoots another gangster, which Shunichi witnesses. He meets the mama-san of K's bar (Mitsuko Baisho), a friend of Takigawa. And he starts an affair with a singer at the bar (Watanabe) and breaks up with his nice, clean-cut girlfriend Hideko (Junko Mihara). Then bad stuff happens. The atmosphere works well, though it's set it in the present – 80s Yokohama. But now the 80s are retro, and that adds another layer of nostalgia. And with a story that's entertaining without diving into stupidity, it's still worth watching. Especially with a bottle of Wild Turkey on a rainy night.