"I'm not sure how big (or small, rather) their budget was, but I'm guessing most of Tsutsumi's money was blown on whores, sake and sushi after a long day of filming, because this film looks as low-budget as they come."
Director: Yukihiko Tsutumi
Producer: Shinya Kawai, Yuuji Ishida, Kazuki Manabe, Susumu Nakazawa
Cast: Maho Nonami, Eiko Koike (Koike Eiko)
Running Time: 70 min.
Plot: 2LDK is a vicious, blacker-than-black comedy about two female roommates locked into a duel to the death.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
ALEXANDER'S REVIEW: I think we've all had a Worst Roommate Ever, a roommate we secretly wished would plummet to their death from the bumper sticker-covered windows of our 4th floor college dorm rooms. A roommate whose laundry "hamper" was the floor, the backs of our chairs and the bottom of the shared closet. The roommate whose idea of organization was stacking Milwaukee's Best beer cans in precarious columns on the window sill, who ocassionally "borrowed" our toothbrushes and deoderant and the last remaining Gatorade from the fridge.
We nicknamed my roommate my junior year "The Red Rocket." Chris had a penchant for leaving our door wide open at night and falling asleep in the nude atop his blanket. In the mornings, door agape, students on their way to class would get a glimpse of his morning wood, or the "rocket." A friend of mine once walked in on Chris masturbating to a porno...at 6:00 a.m. He had bromohydrosis, which means his feet smelled like a thousand foul-smelling feet. His lacrosse gear littered our floor--graphite, nylon and rubber booby traps for the feet. He also smoked out. A lot. Fortunately, I convinced the resident advisor to move me to a new room only a couple of weeks into the semester. But those two weeks spent in that stinky third floor hell nearly led me to murder. I seriously considered stuffing one of his soiled pillow cases with still-damp-from-lacross-practice socks and smothering him to death with the smell of his own toes.
2LDK (personal ad shorthand for "two bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen") is basically about two roommate actresses and how their utter disdain for one another spurs Battle Royale-inspired violence. To compound the already existing tension (one is near-obsessive in her cleanliness, the other less so), both women are competing for the same acting gig.
It's important to note that 2LDK was essentially made as result of a bet between directors Ukihiko Tsutsumi (Chinese Dinner) and Ryukei Kitamura (Azumi, Versus). Kitamura challenged Tsutsumi to a duel of sorts, to craft a film using only one location, two characters and one survivor, with similar budgets. I mention this because it explains the rushed look of the film, the static setting, and tiny cast (Maho Nonami, Eiko Koike and a parrot).
I'm not sure how big (or small, rather) their budget was, but I'm guessing most of Tsutsumi's money was blown on whores, sake and sushi after a long day of filming, because this film looks as low-budget as they come. Don't get me wrong--it's not like they filmed it on Super-8--but the fight scenes (not as bloody as the packaging suggests) are hastily choreographed; the actresses's make-up looks like it was self-applied (the dozens upon dozens of super close-ups reveal many a dirty pore and an ocassional grey tooth); the entire film takes place in what's obviously a soundstage as there's not an open window in the entire joint; and special effects are non-existant, save for a few thousand computer generated feathers.
It's an interesting premise, two roomates battling to the death because they simply can't stand each other. In the hands of a better director, editor and pair of actresses (the parrot is superb), 2LDK could have been much, much better. Now, I haven't seen Ryukei Kitamura's end of the bet, Aragami, but having endured the poorly filmed and acted 2LDK, the dude HAD to have won.
ALEXANDER'S RATING: 5/10