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Last Life In The Universe Review

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A suicidal, obsessive-compulsive Japanese librarian finds himself hiding out at the home of a laid-back, pot-smoking Thai woman after a tragic series of events.

★★★★★

Reining in the melodramatic extravagance of Monrak Transistor, Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang reveals the influence of cult Japanese cinema in this study of cultural contrasts, deceptive appearances and lost souls.

While the spirit of Hirokazu Kore-eda and Kiyoshi Kurosawa is evident in the melancholic atmosphere, Takashi Miike's off-beat inspiration is reinforced by his cameo as a crazed yakuza opposite his Ichi The Killer star Tadanobu Asano, whose transformation into a compulsively neat librarian with a suicide complex is also slyly referential. But Asano's relationship with Sinitta Boonyasak is one of a kind, as the coincidences uniting them threaten to drive them apart.

A disarmingly sweet, darkly funny charmer.