Blue Spring is one of those movies where I kept waiting for something to happen that would shake things up and distinguish it from any number of other boring, brooding teen pics. Instead, the movie wanders around for the first hour like an uninspired delinquent ditching class without any plans, before finally settling on detailing the rivalry between former friends Kujo and Aoki and how Aoki just wanted Kujo’s attention.
Aoki clearly forgot that he, Kujo, and the rest of the senior class at the local all boys high school just don’t care about anything or anyone! Gawd Aoki! Try to remember your gimmick!
The movie starts out with an interesting enough scene. Kujo, Aoki and some of their mates sneak onto the school roof and participate in the bizarre ritual that determines who the top dog of the class is. It involves climbing over the railing on the roof, hanging onto it, and releasing your grip on the railing as you try to clap an increasing number of times, all the while falling backward towards the ground about five stories below. Whoever claps the most is the winner. Whoever can’t grab the railing again probably won’t be back for the next semester.
Director Toshiaki Toyoda does a good job of building up the tension and I was holding my breath hoping, I mean wondering, if someone would fall. After this scene though, I steadily lost interest as we learned nothing more about the characters and they never did anything remotely as interesting as this.
Following Kujo’s victory at the clapping game, he does little more than stand around on the school roof staring off into space, playing soccer by himself, or listening to the midget gardener dispense his wisdom about life using flowers and blooming as his metaphor (easily the worst part of the movie).
I shouldn’t be surprised that an apathetic guy doesn’t, you know, do more, but as a viewer, I could sympathize with Aoki, who became quite irritated that Kujo cared about nothing including ruling the school. What’s the point of being the boss if you aren’t going kick the crap out of all the wannabes who disrespect you?
Sure, Kujo puts a few people in their place early on with a nose twist and a beating with a baseball bat, but that’s not the sort of thing you can bank. You have to be ever vigilant in protecting your top spot.
Let me see if I can channel the midget gardener for a moment to explain. The school is like a garden and Kujo is the gardener. Unless he wants a bunch of weeds taking over his garden he either needs to dump a bunch of chemical spray on it or he needs to forget about gardening all together and just go back to being a pansy and play soccer.
The movie makes stumbling attempts to broaden its canvas and show the universality of the delinquency that runs rampant at this school by showing us some other characters who have no dreams or who have had their dreams crushed.
There’s a kid who talks to cherry trees, the guy they call the Ghost who might have some fatal disease and then there’s the star pitcher who lost the game that would’ve sent his school to nationals and ends up joining the Yakuza. None of these characters are much more than throwaways who have no bearing on the plot though.
The movie plods along for most of the first hour with our whiny brat stars moping around about nothing in particular. Once Aoki gets fed up with Kujo ignoring him and his role as leader of the pack, things do pick up, but in a rather meaningless and predictable manner.
Aoki gets a radical new haircut, picks up two sycophants, and starts brutalizing everyone in the school all in an effort to draw some reaction from Kujo. Kujo finally confronts him and they punch each other several times, but nothing much is settled. Kujo isn’t going away, but he isn’t really hot to be the kind of bad ass that Aoki thinks he should be.
If you didn’t see the ending coming a mile away, then you haven’t watched your share of movies about self-destructive kids. As Kujo realized what Aoki was going to do and raced breathlessly up the stairs to the roof, I thought to myself that wouldn’t it be neat if the movie ended with Kujo talking Aoki into getting some counseling? Neat, but definitely not melodramatic enough for angst-ridden twerps and the people who make movies about them.
A good looking, though ponderous movie that plows no new ground in its subject matter and actually barely scratches the surface of the blank slates that pass for characters. It left me alienated and indifferent.
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