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Key of Life

Kagi-Dorobou no Method

Kenji Uchida’s brilliantly entertaining comedy-drama is a riff on Trading Places: a failed actor steals a new identity and finds himself prey to the attentions of The Mob.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.


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  • Director-Screenwriter Kenji Uchida
  • Producer Itaru Fujimoto, Kazutoshi Wadakura
  • With Masato Sakai, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ryoko Hirosue
  • Japan 2012
  • 128 mins
  • Sales The Klockworx Co Ltd

Anyone who recalls Kenji Uchida’s last movie After School as the smartest and most entertaining Japanese film of 2008 will be palpitating at the news that he’s finally made another film. Key of Life is essentially a riff on Trading Places, but it takes the notion that we all play roles every day much further than John Landis ever dreamed. A failed actor, unlucky in love, steals the identity of an accident victim – and finds himself prey to the attentions of The Mob; he discovers that he’s now a famously ruthless fixer for the underworld. Meanwhile the actual fixer wakes in hospital with amnesia – and has to learn to live anew as a failed actor. Perhaps fortunately, a needy woman executive (she has set herself a two-month deadline to get married) is on hand to help him and/or get in his way. Much of this is deliciously funny, not to mention brilliantly timed and acted with relish by the all-star cast.

Tony Rayns


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