Foreign Lesion


Jean-Pierre Limosin’s overwrought thriller Tokyo Eyes, a French-Japanese coproduction, doesn’t so much titillate as irritate. When adolescent Hinano (Hinano Yoshikawa) recognizes one of her cop brother’s composite sketches from a chance encounter, she mounts an investigation of her own. The criminal—the papers call him Four Eyes in reference to his chic glasses—habitually points guns at rude and insensitive strangers and shoots to miss (he’s aided by his vision-blurring specs). Hinano spots Four Eyes (Shinji Takeda) on the street one day and follows him through a warren of dark alleyways. Not surprisingly, the two hook up soon after.

Four Eyes turns out to be the extroverted alter-ego of K, an alienated hipster who spends most of his time alone playing video games and spying on people, and Limosin makes it more than clear that we’re seeing Tokyo through the eyes of estrangement. The characters are framed in cramped close-ups, often in front of windows; most of the movie takes place in small rooms, back alleys, buses, and subway trains. In one striking scene, K and Hinano chat in the rotating restaurant of a lofty radio tower, the urban landscape looming in the background. Ultimately, Limosin can’t resist slathering the film with heavy-handed symbolism: a lonely bird caged up in K’s apartment, the Chinese character for “foreign” emblazoned on a T-shirt. When Takeshi Kitano puzzlingly appears at the end, it seems like just another gimmick.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 24, 2001

Archive Highlights