Instant Swamp follows an editor at a Japanese women’s magazine which is seeing its circulation numbers fall. This is jsut the beginning of her bad luck stream as it looks like her life seems to get worse and worse. After her mother falls ill, she finds out that her family might not be everything she assumed it was. At first glance you would think this is just another run of the mill ‘down on your luck’ type of story yet Instant Swamp succeeds in delivering another original and creative story.
Things turn especially interesting when she receives an old letter, revealing that her father isn’t actually her father. Not that he was a good man of any sorts, since he ran out on her mother and the rest of the family when she was 8 years old. I touched breifly on why this film is especially different and it’s because unlike most films, this film doesn’t paint her as a pure and innocent free spirit whom the audience must love. Director Satoshi Miki makes this point within the first few minutes, and fills the rest of the film with funny situations. Luckily, Miki’s humor is a little more direct then an American comedy would be.
The real charm of it all comes from the characters’ feisty interplay. Beginning of course with Haname Jinchoge herself, a hardworking career girl, with a relentless optimism in the face of adversity. Miki Satoshi is clearly blessed with an imagination but with all non-perfect films, there are flaws. The zaniness tends to bog the viewer down after the one hour mark. Its characters and situations are bizarre and unexpected which tired me out a bit trying to figure ot where the film was going to turn next. The parts I found funny at the beginning began to put a bit of strain on me as I couldn’t keep up the same pace as the movie was going.
In the characters defense, however, they are just following the script which is too blame mostly. Performance wise the entire cast does a fantastic job bringing the little oddities to life. Like I stated, Instant Swamp is hit or miss. When it hits, it really hits and there are some genuine quirky gems scattered throughout. Third Window Films presents Instant Swamp in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. They did a bang up job bringing this film to the masses and I recommend the film as much as I recommend the transfer. Instant Swamp is an acquired taste but if what you’ve read has you thinking you might be interested, then this is a film I have no doubt you will enjoy. It does lack in contrasts to its weirdness, but more then makes up for it by tieing up loose ends and bringing a smile to your face by the end credits.