Last Life in the Universe

Hiding from an unknown past, suicidal Japanese loner Kenji seems destined for a premature rendezvous with oblivion when he meets Noi, a beautiful Thai party girl. Despite speaking different languages and barely able to communicate, Noi begins to seduce Kenji back into the chaos of life. 

I love films published by Artificial Eye, in fact, they are the only DVD’s I buy these days. The rest of my entertainment comes from Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have yet to watch an Artificial Eye film that I haven’t enjoyed or at least learned something from, the most recent being Last Life in the Universe.

Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang skilfully fuses a variety of genres to create a unique, dreamily stylish drama. Magnificently shot by acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the film also features a superb performance from Tadanoby Asano as Kenji and a memorable cameo by cult director Takashi Miike as a deranged yakuza boss.

Sinitta Boonyasak delivers a powerful performance as Noi, the chemistry between her character and the socially awkward Kenji is mesmerising to watch. The film is heartbreaking in places, but also offers a lot of hope in showing that even the most unfortunate of social anxiety and depression sufferers can find connections in this world. The soundtrack and cinematography are wonderful and have an almost sedative like effect, even in the most emotionally fraught of scenes there is an element of calmness that draws you in. In this respect it reminded me of Lost in Translation. If you get a chance to see Last Life in the Universe, take it, you won’t regret it.