2LDK (2002)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jul 13, 2004 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

At a taut 70 minutes, filled with tension, brutality, and dark wit, 2LDK stakes its place near the upper reaches of Japanese cult cinema. The space may seem a bit too big, particularly to New Yorkers, but the roommate dynamic fraught with unspoken hostility will be familiar to any adult who has ever shared a living space out of necessity rather than by choice. And the apartment seems a lot smaller once Eiko Koike, who plays the virginal, compulsively orderly Nozomi, unleashes the ear-shattering shriek that signals that the girl-on-girl action is about to escalate into physical combat. Writer/director Yukihiko Tsutsumi takes his time reaching that point, and actresses do a great slow burn. The actresses' hostile internal monologues (perhaps not entirely necessary) and the wonderfully off-kilter camera angles clue us in that things all hell is about to break loose, and when the battle royal begins, it's a doozy, involving not just pilfered beauty products, but caustic chemicals, samurai swords, and even a chainsaw. There's an underlying misogyny to this tale of two pretty, self-involved young women run amuck that's slightly discomfiting, but Tsutsumi offsets that to some extent by cleverly making both women struggling actresses. Let's face it -- acting is not a profession known for attracting well-adjusted, level-headed people. And Koike and Maho Nonami as her roommate, Lana, both sporadically evoke tremendous sympathy. Tsutsumi's entry in the "Duel Project" competition is a cleverly efficient and memorably offbeat work.