Last Life in the Universe

Weltschmerz never seemed more dynamic than it does in Pen-ek's sly and seductive movie about an ex-yakuza working as a librarian in the Japanese Cultural Centre in Bangkok. Obsessive, fastidiously ordered and allergic to fish, Kenji (Asano) constantly rehearses his own suicide - he identifies with the lizard in a children's story which finds itself the last lizard on earth - until the day he witnesses a girl killed in a traffic accident during a row with her sister Noi (Sinitta). Next day he has urgent reasons to get out of town (there are two bodies in his apartment: his brother and the hitman sent to get him) and he hitches a ride with the grief-stricken Noi to her tumbledown house near Pattaya. In the few days before her departure to work as a bar girl in Osaka, he cleans up her place, inherits her car and reaches out to her to form an unexpected human bond. Hardly anything happens, but the film grips like a thriller; tone and pace, atmosphere and imagery tell voluminous stories of their own. It has Doyle's best camerawork since Happy Together and a snazzy cameo from Miike in shades and a snakeskin suit.

Release details

Rated: 15
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Screenwriter: Prabda Yoon, Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Cast: Tadanobu Asano
Sinitta Boonyasak
Laila Boonyasak
Yutaka Matsushige
Riki Takeuchi
Takashi Miike
Thiti Phum-orn
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