Review: 2LDK (2002)

Directed by:
Cast: ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

If you’ve been waiting all your life to see two Japanese actresses locked in an apartment trying to kill each other, then wait no longer. 2LDK, so named because of the rather luxurious apartment (2 bedrooms, lounge, dining, kitchen), provides just that, and with great enthusiasm.

This, the other half of the “Duel” competition with director Kitamura’s Aragami, takes an entirely different tack. Where Kitamura’s film follows a storyteller convention, with clever narrative interspersed with bouts of sword-flailing action, this has a different, although equally simple, construction. The story is set up in the first, ooh, fifteen minutes or so, then proceeds to the increasingly violent expressions of the conflicted relationship.

And I have to say it’s done pretty well. The characters are sketched nicely: each well-defined, with an extremely credible reason for detesting the other. It’s a well set up personality clash that you know can only end in tears. Or worse.

The flashpoint of this relationship is a role in TV series “Yakuza Wives” for which both have auditioned. The fact that they’ve both been lodged in their agent’s apartment, which lately housed his mistress, would be dangerous enough: anyone who’s shared a house knows the passions that can be aroused by such close confinement. Frankly, I’m surprised that any students survive to complete their degrees, given what I’ve seen of share housing over the years. The state of the bathroom can lead to hostilities on a grand scale.

So our two girls, who hate each other in a polite way, are locked up together, both waiting for news as to who wins the role. Having nothing to do besides bicker, they indulge in verbal sniping to pass the time. This leads to petty fridge sabotage, some argy-bargy in the bathroom, and by the time it gets to the power tools you know they’re not likely to kiss and make up.

Unlike Aragami, there is no gradual unfolding of mysteries: the girls go at it like hammer and tongs, and occasionally with hammer and tongs. And after a while, this does become a bit repetitive: I’m reminded of my mother’s infamous (in my family) cookbook, “101 Ways With Mince”. Despite the promise of variety, what you have is, at bottom, mince. So too here. Although not literally. Well, not quite.

6.5 personally labelled eggs out of 10.
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