I watched Install because I was curious to see Ueto Aya in a non-Azumi role. She’s good in Install, though it’s impossible to determine whether or not she could have been bad. The film’s constructed very carefully not to put her–or any of the actors–in difficult situations. Acting situations. Ueto narrates the film and the beginning is classy–the film’s nicely shot, cinematographically speaking, and beautifully edited–so I had some high hopes for it. Install does something different with music in a drama–the music reacts to what’s happening on screen. It’s not a revolutionary practice, films have been doing it for specific moments since… what, 1933? But Install takes it a step further by never stopping with the music integration. Unfortunately, besides the opening theme, the music in Install is incredibly annoying. It’s carnival music and it repeats over and over and over again. It was driving me nuts. But the film’s still nicely edited. Great editing.
However good the editing, Install fails. Ugh. I was about to say the install fails to complete. Sorry. Ueto’s character is a teenage girl, apparently reeling from her parents’ divorce and not having at boyfriend. Well, maybe on the boyfriend part… She doesn’t have much conflict, but the film’s goofy and I’m not sure she really needed much. She’s just floundering and a floundering girl is an interesting character. Install even sets up an indigenous agent of solution–a similarly floundering (or so it seems) ten-year old boy. The opening scenes with the kid and Ueto are great. Install’s first twenty minutes are mostly narrated summary scenes, but the twenty minutes moves. Then, once the kid is introduced, the film starts to crawl as the hook is introduced. And once the hook is introduced, Install craps out.
The direction doesn’t help the film at all. Kataoka Kei is fantastic at one person shots, but once he’s got two in the frame, he does this silly distorted long shot and he does it every time.
Ueto was never going to be some great dramatic actor, but I had hoped Install would have been, well, watchable.
Directed by Kataoka Kei; screenplay by Omori Mika, based on the novel by Wataya Risa; director of photography, Ikeda Hidetaka; edited by Omori Shin; music by Iota Rita; production designer, Isoda Norihiro; produced by Kuroi Kazuo; released by Kadokawa Pictures.
Starring Ueto Aya (Nozawa Asako), Kamiki Ryunosuke (Aoki Kazuyoshi), Nakamura Shichinosuke (Kouichi), Kikukawa Rei (Momoko-sensei), Kojima Hijiri (Kayori), Tanaka Yoshiko (Kasa Megumi) and Ôkôchi Hiroshi.