Double Life/Double Cross/Double Tragedy
Imma keep this short since I don’t have much to say anyway. First of all, I’m not really keen on yakuza slash mafia genre. It’s just not my cuppa tea. As you may have already known, I’m just this minipipami; the ordinary average watcher who loves cheesy fluffy chick flick drama with a feel-good fuzzy doki-doki vibe, and not some kind of violence gory gangster guys slashing and planting bullets at each others brain. Though I did watch The Godfather (out of curiosity with everyone’s rave about it), Micky Blue Eyes, Postman Blues, Gokusen season 1-3 + SPs, My Boss, My Hero (DOH! If those doodoos were ever counted as one, heheh…), and some other various Hong Kong old 80s & 90s mafia movies that were aired freely on TV; you name it, cos I had forgotten all of the titles actually, hah! Anyhoooo, that’s not the case with Double Face here, since unexpectedly, this two-parter series is da bomb! Da shit! Da goody-goody rad one! And while I’m speaking here as a first WOWOW production viewer, I’m also a non-Infernal Affairs watcher, since I know nothing about the original trilogy, except a couple general nub like: it was starred by Tony Leung and Andy Lau as the police and mafia undercover respectively, and it has that iconic gun-pointing-at the-rooftop-scene. The end. So, I got nothing to say in comparing sheez between the A’s and the B’s. Y’know what I mean. Heee…
(Spoilert: Nuthin’ to hide! It’s not like you haven’t known this before…)
In a nutshell: Moriya Jun (Nishijima Hidetoshi) and Takayama Ryosuke (Kagawa Teruyuki) are a police officer and a notorious yakuza clan, Oda-gumi member. Both are infiltrated into each other’s world; gaining trust and sense of belonging, while fighting their internal dejection and inner demon, until their lives are intertwined on a one fateful day.
By the time this drama starts, the first thing that caught my attention is the cinematography that tend to look more like a high-budget film than just a standard run of the mill TV Movie, which give us a huge sense and nuance of exclusivity. Added with perfectly gripping gloomy scores by Kanno Yugo to give the double effect in creating this somber dark mood to the opening scene of two jaded men who meet for the first time under the pouring rain; standing side by side, not knowing each others real identity. By that first couple minutes, this drama already managed to got me, like, got me got me. And I gotta say, that despite Double Face is totally not on my liking, I come to get really invested in watching it whole-heartedly, simply because of the way the whole drama executed the plot with its twist and turns without wasting any scene in a contrived manner. The first part of the drama comes with a subtitle 潜入捜査編 (Sennyuu Sosa Hen / Undercover Edition) with Nishijima Hidetoshi’s character, Moriya Jun as the main focus of the story, while the second episode is subtitled 偽装警察編 (Gisou Keisatsu Hen / Police Impersonation Edition) with Kagawa Teruyuki’s Takayama Ryousuke as the lead. Each episode has its own shining moments which I can mark as favorites, though what really got me are not something major whatsoever, but small details which sorta intricate, in my opinion.On Sennyuu, I really like the way it’s depicting the struggle and depression that Jun harbors as he doing his double life as the mole in the Oda-gumi clan for ±6 years. His empty-shell face and his soulless eyes really tell it all, but he must keep going with this undercover thing despite he himself is on the verge of a break down with the haunting nightmare and insomnia.One of the couple little scenes that focally representative is shown on the beginning when Jun meets his Chief, Onodera (Kadono Takuzo), the only one who knows about his true identity as an officer in the bureau. By the time Jun vents his frustration to Onodera, saying stuff about how he just can’t take it anymore, Onodera can’t do anything except telling him to be patient, but then he was gobsmacked by the time he saw Jun’s shirt’s back that got soaked by sweat revealing his yakuza tattoo. At that point, Onodera’s face shows a realization that shit has going on too deep for real.Another scene is where Jun is sending secret Morse code to Onodera while tackling the major drug deal (oh, and why, Jun-chan, you have to snort that coke with that kawaii stupid smile like that? *facepalming*) and he looked sooooo like, dead inside, while listening to one of his Oda-gumi buddies talk about Thailand and the chicks. I dunno why, but I got myself really feel for Jun’s despondence at that ephemeral moment.Not to mention that Jun’s supposed to be good and straight life is spiraling down to the gutter, as he lost so much more than what he had assigned to and bargained for, ever since he started this undercover gig; as like, he has to witness Onodera’s death right in front of his eyes, losing his only best buddy slash loyal crew whom he treats like lil brother in Oda-gumi, Hiroshi (Ito Atsushi), on the same day. And to add more lemon, he’s falling in love with his own shrink, Naoko (Wakui Emi), despite realizing that there’s only a fat chance for him to be together and have a happy ending with her. So yes, his life is basically suck and uber shitty. Hah! So much for being in love… undercover! Lulz…In contrast, on Gisou, Takayama’s life is going qualitatively better; for despite being a mole in the police department, he works ambitiously and diligently, and keeps climbing up and up to the ladder of success and achievement. He loves his new self; it’s obvious from his proud expression every time he’s looking at his police badge. But yet at the same time, his dark past can’t be easily erased in a snap, no matter how much he has determined to lead a clean fulfilling life.This whole debacle finally reach the toll by the time he was assigned to get close and friendly with Minister of Health and Welfare’s (maybe? I forgot, and I dun care enuff to rewind and finding out actually, lol…) daughter, Suenaga Mari (Aoi Yu), and later to taint her with drugs for Oda-gumi’s advantage. It then makes Takayama’s reluctance to obey become stronger and stronger, which in the end leads to the ultimate betrayal, since Mari is his only solace; the only ‘pure’ and ‘ordinary’ thing that he wish to keep the way it is.
One of the other things that I really like, is the way this drama making a symbolization of the two contrast sides; either through the depiction of a cute puppy in a cardboard box in the rain (somebody should really save that lil creature, like, seriously), or through the colour and camera angle, like when Takayama and Jun are finally making contact for the very first time through the cell phone and the drama start to divide the screen portion by making it in a comic panel format with bright turquoise color for Takayama, and dark magenta lights for Jun. And the way the camera shoot Jun’s back with the tattoo and Takayama’s in a sleek suit, is so poignantly delivered the whole point of the drama in telling the irony of their lives.
Acting wise, everyone’s basically bringing their A-game here, heck, even Bussan’s pop (Kohinata Fumiyo) is not looking bubbly and friendly like Bussan’s pop at all, for he looks so cold and so mean as the Oda gumi big boss. And somehow I really like Aoi Yu’s acting that looked so natural by making small gestures in talking and stuff that similar with what we do in real daily life; i.e. scratching your shoulder while talking, blahblahblah. It’s really hard to explained, you have to watch it yourself, lulz… But of course, the main attraction and the brightest spotlight is shined at no other than our two main dudes. I found myself having no problem with Kagawa’s acting, since I already watched him in a couple movies and SPs like Kisaragi and Saikai (Reunion), and so far he’s all good and no hammy in sight. Heck, honestly, dude that got my full attention is, of course, Nishijima Hidetoshi, cos bop-bop-babyyy, not gonna lie, but he looks so damn faaaaiiiine here; with his scruffy looks, proportional-sized biceps (if you’ve watched too many Okada Junichi, you’ll know what I mean. Heheh…), and sun-kissed tan (with my favorite scene of him is the whole sequence of his counseling session with Naoko). Dayummmm, so gangsta and so thug yo! *wolf whistling* lulz…Well actually, prior to Double Face, I had watched Boku to Star no 99 Nichi (Review may come up later. Prolly…) first, simply because I like the coupling of him and Kim Tae Hee that I think is so uber cute, despite in that drama he looked so rebarbatively emaciated, along with that damn ramen-like perm hair. Haha. So basically his appearance as Jun come as a double (pun intended) whammy of surprise, it makes me questioning shit like: “Man, is this the same nerdy dude in Boku 99? How can he change drastically in a span of less than a year, ne?” Even though as Jun, he keeps smoking-
-ly smoldering hawt, he almost burn my laptop screen, lulz–those fricken cancer sticks like a chimney at 90% of his screen time.But fortunately, that ikemen trait is only a bonus point and #thankGodyourepretty is not applied here, cos Nishjima got the knack in do the acting as the broody depressed dude; which managed to, objectively, gain my sympathy. Even though it was a scene of him shown smiling, we managed to feel the sadness that was caused by his personal baggage that he can’t blatantly confide to anyone. And the final scene with Naoko, when he called her from outside her place, but he hides himself behind the tree across the street, so that she cannot find him, even though both are wanting to see each other badly, makes me so like, ugh… crap, why can they just give him a lil happiness, dammit! *flipping table* See?! This is why I hate yakuza movies.But despite having a good and meaty storyline, I find the one third final part of the climax is a little rush and meh. What’s with Jun, who finally finds out about the truth of Takayama’s identity through his writing on the envelope, decided to just abruptly take off in angst while hot-headedly plotting a juvenile revenge by sending Mari the recorded tape? I mean, EHHHH, REALLY? THAT’S IT? Cos it was soooo… stupid, and in contrast to what he said earlier to Takayama that he has enough experience in doing undercover thingy, so he’s so sure he’ll be able to catch the Oda-gumi’s dog in the bureau. I was like, dude, don’t the most important things in doing undercover are forbearing and cunning strategy? I mean he can be patient for almost 10 YEARS of his life, doing all that gangster shit, how can he not be able to hold it up for at least, ummm, a couple more days, until he get his police identity back from Takayama, and then start to execute a better/cooked plan to run his money? If only Jun had done so, he would be able to caught Takayama red handed, got the commendable award that he’s so damn deserved from the department, married the pretty doctor Naoko, and lived a happy fuufu life; and not gotten his brain blown and splattered by a bullet in an elevator and die unhonoured as a wanted criminal instead. So why, Jun-chan? Why Alan Mak-chan? Why Felix Wong-chan? Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyy? Aiiiiiieeeeegoooooo!!! *tearing hair*
Even so, I find myself quite satisfy with how the drama ends in the in-your-face! manner, with Takayama, who becoming more success than ever, after deceitfully framed Jun (Ugh, I hate it when he’s deleting Jun’s identity file! I hate it! I haaaaaaate it! *throwing tantrum*), is living his life ironically back to square one as the clan’s mole, only this time he’s not playing the musical chair of the doom alone, for Mari is also dragged into the vicious cycle of his never ending dirty evil life. And all Takayama can do now is nothing but weep and be a ‘good dog’. Well, so much for wanting to be a goody two shoes, eh? Tsk.
Well, that’s it for now. All I gotta say is, I unexpectedly love Double Face, despite this drama is not bearing my favourite genre, for the whole execution is just so damn engagingly good. And to double the bonus aside the good plot, Nishijima Hidetoshi has captured my kokoro like a freaking Pokemon ever since I watched him lit that cigar at the opening scene. And ooooh, did I already tell ya that he is so awesome and hawt in here? I did, didn’t I? Heck, he can play a ferking mime as a couch potato and I’m still gonna watch his shit anyway, from now on. So… yeah… *browsing dramawiki and torrent site* Lol…
Final Score: 90/100