TIFF19: First Love

First Love (2019) 1h 48min | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 17 May 2019 (France) Summary: A young boxer and a call girl get caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.
Countries: Japan, UKLanguages: Japanese

A young boxer and a call-girl find themselves caught up in the middle of a drug war between the Yakuza and a Chinese gang in First Love. Leo Katsuragi (Masataka Kubota) is an up and coming boxer, who receives the bad news that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Having nothing to lose, Leo spontaneous helps out kidnapped call-girl Monica (Sakurako Konishi), who is being purposed by corrupt cop Otomo (Nao Ohmori), who has been working with a traitorous Yakuza member Kase (Shôta Sometani) to steal a shipment of drugs. When Yakuza boss Gondo (Seiyô Uchino) finds out of Kase’s treachery, it sets off a pursuit across the streets of Tokyo, which also catches the attention of a rival Chinese gang.

Takashi Miike gives a Yakuza twist to the “one crazy night” genre in his latest film First Love. The film centres upon a young boxer named Leo Katsuragi, who collapses during a fight and subsequently receives the bad news that he has a brain tumour. Soon afterwards, Leo encounters Monica, a drug-addicted young call-girl, who is being framed by Kase for the theft of a drug shipment. This results in the two being purposed by both Yakuza and Chinese Triads, which climaxes in a bloody showdown in a department store.

First Love

With First Love, Takashi Miike gives us a “one crazy night” movie, with a heavy emphasis on the crazy. The film has a very large and eclectic cast of characters, ranging from the psychotic and vengeful woman Julie (Becky) to a one-armed Triad gunman. While the title of First Love suggests a romantic element, Leo and Monica remain relatively platonic throughout the film. However, that ultimately doesn’t matter, since the film is still a quite fun and violent ride.

TIFF19 screenings of First Love

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).