(18) 115min (Tartan DVD retail/rental)
Half noir, half melancholic meditation on sins that won’t go away, Last Life in the Universe director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s film is a mixture of the clumsy and the allusively accomplished. Sometimes it uses off-screen space suggestively; at other times it relies on stilted English dialogue to offer up plot exposition.
The story is apparently simple: young Japanese man Kyoji (Tadanobu Asano from Last Life . . . and Café Lumiere) who is having an affair with the boss’ wife, agrees to murder her after the boss tells him he wants to marry another woman. Kyoji will be well remunerated, but can his conscience live with it, and what about the beautiful woman he meets on the ship taking him away from the scene of the crime? Interestingly shot by Chris Doyle in muggy, subdued colours, the film’s a watchable curio. Extras include a making of documentary and interviews with Ratanaruang and Doyle.