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‘Dark Dawn in Tokyo’ follows the story of two brothers who left their home country to find happiness and a good life somewhere else. They arrived in Japan, and on their road to make a living, each and every one of them obviously made decisions – some good, some bad. But this rollercoaster cannot last forever, and soon, the bad decisions of one of the brothers starts affecting both of them.


One of the brothers is a cop, whilst the other has a criminal record, and they meet when Vlad, the policeman, wants to talk to Radu, the ex-gangster, now running a restaurant, about a crime that happened not long ago. One thing we liked about this short was the dialogue – we didn’t expect it to be this good, going way over our expectations. When the two brothers discuss the murder and about their life, the whole narrative seems like a bit from a Dostoyevsky novel – the whole mood of the scene is quite dark and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way of escaping this situation. Also, the constant feeling of ‘giving everything up’ can be felt only through the harsh dialogue bits that are intertwined with sequences of hope.

The technique used by director Leonidas Stanescu is interesting while the choice of him playing both of the characters (the brothers) is indeed intriguing. We’ve seen this technique before in other shorts, but here it has another critical dimension, and at the same time it takes the short to another level. The same person playing the two brothers, a good cop and a bad gangster, can be seen and interpreted as being the two parts of the same man that copes as well as he can with the urges of a duplicitous self.


The whole story would have had a more philosophical dimension if in the end it would have been shown to us that Radu and Vlad were, in fact, the same person. ‘Dark Dawn in Tokyo’ raises some interesting questions whilst waiting patiently for the viewer to give the right answers.


Review written by Vlad A.G

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