When you’re covering a film fest, sometimes you crave a quick jolt. I’m still not sure how Khavn’s “Ruined Heart” (Japan title: “Kowareta Kokoro”) snuck into the main competition section of Tokyo International Film Festival in 2014, but watching it at the time felt like necking a triple vodka and Red Bull.
The scuzzy Filipino flick gets a belated theatrical release this month, no doubt thanks to the involvement of star Tadanobu Asano. Sporting a garish shirt and a plaster cast on one arm, the actor plays a hitman who attempts to elope with his boss’s prostitute girlfriend, with predictable results.
Cinematographer Christopher Doyle reportedly quit the film’s production halfway through, and it shows: For each beautifully composed set piece, we get another of Asano running through the alleys of Manila with a GoPro camera strapped to his arm.
If you’re in the right mood, it’s a blast. “Ruined Heart” feeds off its own creative energy, relying on chutzpah and its ability to keep you surprised. There are at least a dozen standout scenes: an orgy featuring dwarves and a Filipino soul band; Asano and pals dancing to reggae while a TV plays the karaoke video for “Twist and Shout”; a sex scene that makes inventive use of a phonebook; and on and on.
“Ruined Heart” opens at Eurospace in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Jan 7. For details, visit bit.ly/ruinedhearttokyo.