One of the many pleasures of watching a foreign film is the utterly alien way they tell a story. The language isn’t even an obstacle when the acting is so emotion-packed and, in the case of Schoolboy Crush(available tomorrow on DVD), the beauty of its cast is as foreign as the dialogue.
The Japanese film opens with an encounter between Aoi and a male prostitute named Sora. Aoi (Kotani Yoshikazu) has just been dumped, and Sora (Kanno Atsumi) is sympathetic. He’s attracted to the older man, and programs his number into his cell phone. Gradually, we discover that Aoi is a science teacher at an expensive boy’s prep school, and he is horrified to find Sora is their newest transfer student. High drama ensues as Aoi becomes obsessed with the fact that Sora has his number on his cell phone, and he is sure that Sora will get him fired.
The longhaired and somewhat androgynous-looking Sora, on the other hand, is considered the hottest thing to hit the school by his fellow students. Sora is paired with a nerdy roommate who becomes fixated on him, and for some reason, this raises the ire of the super-rich school bully.
Elements of Fatal Attraction mix with plot mysteries that end up with surprise twists, and it seems like all of the boys at the school are gay in some way or other. Jealousy over Sora leads to tragedy, but director Terauchi Kotaro gives the film a dreamy quality that glosses over its melodrama.
Schoolboy Crush is being sold as part of the TLA Video's Guilty Pleasures Collection, I guess because of the overall youth of the cast, but I found myself fascinated by some of the actors’ facial expressions, especially Yoshikazu, who plays most of his scenes with his eyes set to pop out of their sockets. The tangled web of boys behaving badly is an interesting glimpse at Japanese culture gone wild.
Click here to watch the trailer for Schoolboy Crush.
Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.