Based on a cult Japanese manga, this edgy drama follows several teenagers in a dead-end suburb of Tokyo who become enmeshed in a dangerous web of jealousy, betrayal, and violence.
The stagnant, polluted body of water from which RIVER’S EDGE takes its name is an apt metaphor for the film’s troubled characters, whose well-adjusted exteriors belie private lives full of toxic secrets and murky motivations. Set in 1994, the film follows plucky teenager Wakakusa (Fumi Nikaido), who becomes a friend and protector to Yamada (Ryo Yoshizawa), a gay, enigmatic loner who’s relentlessly picked on by his classmates, including Wakakusa’s thuggish boyfriend. In turn, Yamada gives Wakakusa access to his poetic and uniquely morbid way of seeing the world. He also introduces her to the bizarre secret obsession he shares with another one of their schoolmates, Kozue, a professional model with a disturbing dark side played by real-life model Sumire. As the paths of Wakakusa and her classmates grow increasingly entwined and more perverse secrets come to the fore, the looming specter of violence threatens to boil over. Laced with lots of sex, brutality, and pitch-black comedy, RIVER’S EDGE is a compulsively entertaining tale of teens behaving badly, yet director Isao Yukisada wisely grounds the action in the sympathetically rendered relationships between his complicated and fully-formed characters.
CAST: Fumi Nikaido, Ryo Yoshizawa, Shuhei Uesugi, Aoi Morikawa
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