What seemed like a simple telephone scam for some easy cash, quickly escalates to a surreal nightmare that Hitoshi Nagano is unable to escape from. My review of It’s Me, It’s Me (Ore Ore/俺俺) screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival after the jump.
Hitoshi (Kazuya Kamenashi) dreams of becoming a photographer, but spends his days selling cameras at a soulless Japanese electronics store. Short on funds and on motivation, he decides to carry out a common Japanese phone scam when a careless customer leaves his cellphone on the table at the fast food joint Hitoshi is eating at. The scam involves calling elderly relatives and pretending to be their grandson/son etc and asking for large sums of money to be transferred to their bank account. Much to Hitoshi’s surprise, he pulls it off and is soon withdrawing tens of thousands of yen from the ATM.
Flush with cash, life seems so much brighter, but then things get really weird. First the women he duped into giving him cash shows up, calling him her son’s name and treating him as if she were her flesh and blood. Not long after a man absolutely identical in every way confronts him, introducing himself as ‘Hitoshi’ and claiming that he is an imposter, someone squatting in his life. This is only the beginning of a spiral of madness from which Hitoshi is unsure how to escape. More ‘indenticals’ show up and Hitoshi even begins to doubt his own identity. How has the scam set off this series of events and can the real Hitoshi get out unscathed?
It’s Me, It’s Me is a bizarre, fantastical ride that toys with identity and forces the audience to question their own identity and the life choices which have helped shape it. While Hitoshi is a likable, but slightly weak character, he is an interesting protagonist quite simply because he doesn’t always make the right choices. As Hitoshi falls further down the rabbit hole, it becomes harder to gauge which way is up – this was both fascinating and frustrating. I was reminded greatly of Being John Malkovich and the way in which that film plays with the idea of the self.
Kazuya Kamenashi does a great job playing the various versions of Hitoshi. Any actor that can take on multiple identities/roles within one film and give each one something unique, is indeed admirable. For me it was the comedy that worked, the bewilderment and odd situations that occur when one meets a version of themself. The action sequences were less successful, but even they contained some great comedic moments, as multiple ‘identicals’ engaged with each other in various ways. It’s Me It’s Me is an odd film and for that reason it’s worth seeing. A twisted adventure into a nightmarish situation involving every possible incarnation of ‘me’ imaginable.
It’s Me, It’s Me is screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival. For information about session times, please visit the official festival website.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Satoshi Miki
Writer(s): Satoshi Miki
Starring: Kazuya Kamenashi, Yuki Uchida, Ryo Kase, Midoriko Kimura
Runtime: 119 minutes