Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the Pool (In za pûru / イン・ザ・プール -2005)

In the Pool
Suzuki Matsuo ... Psychiatrist Ichirô Irabu
Joe Odagiri ... Tetsuya Taguchi
Miwako Ichikawa ... Suzumi Iwamura
Seiichi Tanabe ... Kazuo Ômori
Toshiki Ayata
Noriko Eguchi
Yoko Fujita
Eri Fuse ... Editor-in-Chief
Ryo Iwamatsu ... General Manager Maenishi (as Ryô Iwamatsu)
Houka Kinoshita (as Hôka Kinoshita)
Kitarou (as Kitarô)
Maiko ... Nurse Mayumi-chan
Yoko Maki (as Yôko Maki)
Shunsuke Matsuoka
Noboru Mitani ... Doctor Himenogi
Leo Morimoto ... Professor Samata (as Reo Morimoto)
Yuko Nakamura
Kyusaku Shimada (as Kyûsaku Shimada)
Ikko Suzuki (as Ikkô Suzuki)
Yoji Tanaka (as Yôji Tanaka)
Masahiro Toda

In the PoolThe vast majority of modern urban dwellers harbor pernicious seeds of neurosis that could surface at any time in any number of bizarre forms. Irabu General Hospital is visited by many such people, all ordinary, but who suffer from extraordinary conditions. The cause of their illnesses? Stress, something we all know much about.

In the basement of Irabu General Hospital is the office of psychiatrist Ichiro Irabu (Suzuki Matsuo), who has inherited the hospital from his father. His unkempt, scraggly appearance belies his credentials. Under his white smock, he wears a leopard-striped shirt and army boots. His demeanor is gruff and unprofessional. He's loud, harbors a severe Oedipal complex, is prone to violent outbursts and barely hears a word his patients are saying. In short, he seems a complete slacker. But somehow all these detracting qualities add up to a strange magnetism that draws his patients to him out of, if nothing else, a sense of a shared fate and empathy. At Dr. Irabu's side is the voluptuous nurse, Mayumi, who seems to take no interest whatsoever in her job or her boss. All they share is a fondness for needles. Dr. Irabu, meanwhile, has taken to swimming at a local pool during his off hours.

At the pool, Irabu regularly runs into a man who seems quite obsessed with swimming. He is Kazuo Ohmori (Seiichi Tanabe), a brash, confident young company man who has been put in charge of a large outlet mall development project. He has a wife, a mistress and a reputation for getting the job done. But the project has him very busy and more anxious than usual. Wondering how to best deal with his accumulating stress, he happens upon a magazine article that prompts him to take up swimming. He finds it to be just what the doctor ordered. But as the demands of his job begin to get in the way of his newfound ritual, he sees his health deteriorating, which only further fuels his craving to swim, eventually implanting a "pool dependence," which he must satisfy.

Meanwhile, a salesman at medium-size manufacturing company, Tetsuya Taguchi (Joe Odagiri) one day wakes up to find himself with a 24-hour erection. In great discomfort and pain, he rushes to an urologist who offers little help except to pass him on to Dr. Irabu, who quickly realizes that Taguchi is a man who can't express his feelings, particularly to women, and is highly suppressed. Irabu is direct. "There's something you're not telling me." In fact, Taguchi's wife, Sayoko, recently left him to be with a company friend, with whom she had an affair. But Taguchi has never let her go emotionally, and has bizarre nightly dreams of her. He knows he must stop being such a pushover but how? Fixing his constant erection takes primary concern, however, which is increasingly causing him more pain and embarrassment, especially at work. At one point, he is ordered to go on a business trip with clients at a hot springs resort. With his erection showing no signs of receding, Irabu finally tells him he must confront his ex-wife.

Irabu is visited by one more patient, a serious, hard-working magazine writer by the name of Suzumi Iwamura (Miwako Ichikawa). Her meticulous investigative instincts make her a good expose writer but they also threaten to be her undoing as she craves verification. Once a thought gets into her head, her mind won't let it go. This leads to a neurotic condition where she constantly worries about whether she's left the gas or electricity on at her apartment, or the door unlocked. At one point, she even worries that she left the burner gas on at Korean barbecue restaurant. She finds it increasingly difficult to go anywhere and repeatedly leaves in the middle of her work to rush home and check her appliances. Irabu prescribes a series of highly unconventional exercises such as going and throwing rocks at a rival hospital. Suzumi, though suspect of Irabu's seemingly self-driven methods, gradually comes to trust him until the day he jars loose a startling incident from her childhood that lies at the root of her problem. An incident with criminal ramifications, no less. The two have no choice but to investigate further in hopes of reaching closure.

I have to laugh at this movie. I laughed because it was funny imagining Joe Odagiri with a constant erection. I think that entire part of the story was the only part of the movie that kept me watching. The rest...........bored me to tears.

I mean, yeah, the doctor was riot. He was insane. LOL!

This movie was so unconventional. At times, I was like..."Huh?" I'm sure there was supposed to have been a moral to this story. I guess it was a reminder that we all have some sort of stress or erratic behavior of some sort. We just have to face our problems or laugh them off as we go on.

This was a good time waster. When Joe-kun plays in comedic roles, he totally rocks. He sometimes comes across as the innocent when he is cleaned up and shaved. But then, when he plays the "bad" guy.....he rules there too!

In all, the movie was okay in general.

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