I was stunned. This film by Shion Sono stuns me. It is by no means a perfect film, nor it tries to be so, but it is one of the best manifestos of the Japanese psyche, which is revealed with honesty and sincerity. On the surface, I like everything Japan. Deep down, I find Japan and the Japanese to be so hopelessly trapped in its and their own social and economic creation, which is modern Japan. This film chronicles a few lives, and still it tells a universal story of what feels like to be a Japanese today. Japan is a world's notable story of rags-to-riches, and it is even more notable, and revealing, as it seems to reverse the fortune at the stagnation of self development today. It is still too soon to name Japan's story of the riches-back-to-rags nature. But the emergence of China and South Korea and Taiwan and the once third-world Asia puts Japan at a paranoid of getting a lot closer and faster to the rank of rags. I find the boy Sumida in several Japanese friends of mine. Their unspeakable pains and sorrows are much more understood now. Japan has created itself, especially after the second world war, into a society depending on other people's perception and judgment. The Japanese then are left to struggle with the realities of their own, sometimes most degrading and inhuman, and continuing to protect the great image of worldly success and of loyal conformity to the society at large. This great contrast proves too much for a human being. There go suicides, vicious killings, and other unnamed psychopathic episodes as a tragic result. This film makes us wonder which will win: hopelessness or hopefulness. It ends with one winning just an inch over the other. I believe this sad film wants to convey the desperation of Japan and the Japanese at this time. It does well. I recommend this Shion Sono film for everyone who cares more than just about yourself, and I wish Japan well in every way. Dear Japan, you have killed your own father, the old and traditional Japan, and been trying to live with the leftover, being the modernised Japan. Tall order it indeed is, but you are not as short as before. There is a future.