Vibrator

Japan (2003), 95 minutes
Starring: Shinobu Terajima, Nao Omori
Reviewer: Jeremy Silman
Genre: Drama
Rating: 2

A contemplative piece about a lonely woman (Rei) that, while shopping for alcohol at a local truck stop market, meets a young man (Takatoshi), thinks ‘To hell with it’ and leaps into his truck. And, away they go, driving all over Japan, having sex, and then having more sex.

This kind of film can work if done right, and though the acting is excellent and the mood dark and introspective, it falls on its face because of one simple flaw: the main character (Rei) is manic-depressive, stupid (she had nothing to say of any intelligence throughout and just lived vicariously off the truck driver), shallow, uninteresting, and more than a bit disgusting. Of course, being mentally ill is a doable device, but this is the kind of mental illness that leads one to live in the streets and throw their feces at passing cars. Not exactly the stuff of erotic intelligentsia.

If you’re looking for a top-notch road movie, check out Buffalo 66 by Vincent Gallo. Vibrator, unfortunately, though filled with potential, ends up as nothing more than a pretender. I should add that Hiroki’s earlier film, I Am an S+M Writer (2000), is absolutely brilliant.