You can understand that Blues Harp is a marvelous film since the first scene. In the underground of a great city the camera shoots a young boy playing his harp while a woman and a man, presumably his parents, couldn’t care less about him, leaving the boy in his loneliness shaped by the sad music he’s playing. Years go by and that boy, whose name is Chuji, grows up and become the bartender of a pub where there’s live music and where often you’ll end up in a fight with those clients who are messing with your girlfriend, or future Chuji’s girlfriend, Tokiko. However the wage is not enough for a living and sometimes being a drug dealer might help.
Despite his despicable side job, Chuji is not a criminal nor an outlaw, and when he saves Kenji Shindo, a yakuza from the opposite faction of his, he finds himself in trouble without even knowing anything about it. Life goes on, he did something good careless of the consequences and now things look like are getting better: he starts dating Tokiko and she gets pregnant, he starts playing his harp in public in the same pub where he works and a record company notices him. It looks like Life has finally seen and appreciated him. And then what will happen is unknown, director Takashi Miike doesn’t want the audience to understand just by looking at a series of images, he wants them to imagine what’s going on in this movie where everything seems flowing slowly until the extraordinary conclusion comes.
It’s a tale where lives that should never cross mess up with each other existence: Chuji and Kenji’s are somehow doomed because of their meeting. The two guys become friends even if they never get in touch with each other, a sort of silent agreement between a man of honour and a boy who wants to forget everything about the tattooed people. Like every good film directed by Takashi Miike, Blues Harp is a an instable mixture of great composition and moments of unrecognizable directing style: after all this is his signature, a chameleon non-style capable of doing everything it wants from the camera, without forgetting the importance of a good story.
As usual, Miike is great in directing actors asking and reaching the best from every actor at his service, like the very good trio ensemble of Blues Harp, composed of Ikeuchi Hiroyuki, at the beginning of his career, Seeichi Tanabe and Saori Sekino. It’s one of those film you won’t easily forget, especially because of the masterly crafted opening scene in which the band is singing and playing loudly in the pub while Kenji/Tanabe is running away from his chasers before meeting with his savior Chuji. Musicians and runners share the screen in a fast paced scene and they send a clear message to the audience: you won’t be able to turn your head before the movie will be over.