12 July 2019 | lasttimeisaw
A gleeful if frivolous potboiler mines into Japan's prevalent kuso culture
Whopping temerity abounds in Hideki Takeuchi's THERMAE ROMAE, an adaptation of Mari Yamazaki's massively popular eponymous manga series, which is parlayed into a gigantic box-office smash hit, Japan's second highest-grossing domestic film in 2012 and also spawns a sequel.
In this time-travel cock and bull story, an Ancient Roman architect Lucius Modestus (Abe) multiply stumbles upon present world in Japan through magic watery portals which the movie gives no explication whatsoever. Lucius takes his cue from mod cons to improve his design of Roman baths, which is pertinently yoked to the historical process of the Roman Empire under the reign of the peripatetic Emperor Hadrian (Ichimura), not only does Lucius' copied private bath console the emperor's loss of Antinous in 130, but his discovery of therapeutic hot springs is able to miraculously heal the wounds and dissipate the fatigue of jaded Roman warriors as well, which in turn, secures Antoninus (Shishido)'s standing as Hadrian's successor, to the chagrin of the obnoxious skirt-chaser Ceionius (Kitamura). It is all thanks to Japanese bathing culture, that human history doesn't go astray in the wrong hands, temerity, yes, but also innately droll....
read my full review on the blog: cinema omnivore