Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Executive Koala (Minoru Kawasaki, 2005)

Minoru Kawasaki's Executive Koala (2005).

Keiichi Tamura works for a pickle distribution company. His career is moving along well and he's just about to make a deal with a Korean kimchi company when two detectives come looking for him at work. Tamura's girlfriend Yoko has been found dead and since his wife disappeared three years ago, he's the prime suspect. When the Korean businessman is visiting Japan he reveals himself to be the former lover of Tamura's wife, and that she used to write him about how Tamura was mistreating her. The problem is that Tamura can't remember a thing about what happened three years ago, and he's also a man-sized koala.

Director Minoru Kawasaki starts off by playing it straight, Tamura is popular with the women at work and even though some of them thinks he's a bit too furry, no one really seems to care that he's a koala. But what can you expect in a company where the president is a bunny. Then it turns into a bloody slasher/psycho thriller when Tamura, with the help of his psychiatrist, is trying to find out what really happened. After that, it just gets crazier and funnier.

Go, go Executive Koala!

I was a bit worried that I wouldn't like Executive Koala. When I watched Kawasaki's previous film, The Calamari Wrestler (2004), about a giant squid wrestler, I thought that while it was a great idea, the movie was just too slow and didn't have enough humor. The insanity of a squid fighting for a wrestling championship and his girlfriend just wasn't enough. There are no such problems in Executive Koala. Between the weirdness of a koala being an office worker, his bunny boss, the convenience store frog, a musical interlude and an interspecific martial arts fight, Executive Koala leaves no room for boredom, just bewildered amazment.