Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy allows Hamaguchi to return to themes he has explored in previous work from the way life is measured in twists of fate to a sense of duality in individual lives and characters.
Stream Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s film is an alternately scathing, erotic, terrifying, and affirming fable of the primordial power of storytelling.
This one is every bit as static and chatty as fans have come to expect; rooted to its two-actors-in-a-room reality, but also charming and characteristically unpredictable for the ways it wiggles free of it like a loose tooth.
This trio of stories is elegant and amusing, with a delicacy of touch and real imaginative warmth.
Each of these episodes is well acted, follows a reasonably conventional three-act structure and emphasizes interesting female characters in a compelling situation — which is more than can be said for many portmanteau films, where one segment is markedly more satisfying than the others. But it also suggests an ongoing resistance on Hamaguchi’s part to engage with the feature form itself.
It feels a complete whole––a wry intertwining dialectic on modern desires––yet each scene is uniquely bracing: beautifully poised, exquisitely observed, and even erotically charged––rife with unabashed seduction, though always close enough to farce to keep things kösher and to keep you guessing (it’s telling that we barely glimpse a kiss).
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is full of understated, melancholy poetry.