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First Love(初恋)

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Japan, United Kingdom · 2019
1h 48m
Director Takashi Miike
Starring Masataka Kubota, Nao Omori, Shota Sometani, Sakurako Konishi
Genre Action, Crime, Drama, Romance

Leo is a young, up-and-coming boxer who collapses during a fight and learns he has an inoperable brain tumor. Yuri is a drug addicted call girl struggling to pay her father’s debts to the Yakuza. With nothing to lose, Leo decides to help her after she is framed by low-level gang members.

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What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

Always the versatile director, Takashi Miike throws many unique elements into First Love. It's funny, has action and yakuza drug schemes, it's at times scary and depressing. These are all common elements of Miike's filmography, and he does manage to bring them all together well enough in this film. Most importantly though, it's just really entertaining.

What are critics saying?


Screen Daily by Allan Hunter

An exhilarating cocktail of bloodbath violence and tar-black humour that will be catnip to Midnight Madness programmers and Miike devotees.


The Playlist by Bradley Warren

While not quite arriving at the delirious cult highs of a classic like “Ichi the Killer,” “First Love” is Miike’s most accessible work in years.


CineVue by Christopher Machell

This is pop-punk filmmaking – vibrant, disposable, and shallow. Still, it’s difficult to care about the nutritional content of your confectionary when it tastes this sweet.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Frequently sublime ... a piece of work so feral and full of life that you’d never guess it was (at least) the 90th feature its director has made in the last 30 years.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

First Love may be a fluffier, more eager-to-please bauble than Miike’s more challengingly outré titles, but like the cutesy mechanical toy puppy that turns up yapping in the middle of the film, it is wired to explode, and it is a blast.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

First Love ranks among Miike’s most purely entertaining movies (out of more than 100 now!), gradually building steam until it reaches a sustained pitch of cheerful insanity.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

If you haven’t sampled the works of Miike before now, here’s the perfect introduction. And yakuza action-comedy fans, you never forget your First Love.


The Film Stage by Rory O'Connor

The pacing is breakneck but the economy with which Miike establishes his various narrative threads and characters is astonishing.


The Hollywood Reporter by Stephen Dalton

It offers little thematically or stylistically novel that devotees of Japan’s most prolific B-movie maestro will not have seen many times before. Even so, the Tarantino-style rollercoaster ride is as effortlessly enjoyable as ever, accentuating the director's lighter comic leanings over his bloodthirsty side.

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