One Cut of the Dead was a fantastic release from Director Shinichiro Ueda. The movie used the standard zombie movie to tell a wholly original story. It is a funny and clever film that is the definition of must see. Special Actors is in the same vein as Ueda’s previous work. In other words, it would be a mistake to take anything at face value. Kazuto is a timid would-be actor that faints at any confrontation. After joining an acting troupe called Special Actors he becomes involved in an investigation to expose a cult that is definitely not Scientology.
It sounds more confusing than it actually is. The plot itself is very straightforward. It is in the details where Special Actors shines. The story does an excellent job of playing the long con. Special Actors is a series of well planned plot twists and cause and effect writing. The film has the cult and the Special Actors trying to outsmart each other and everyone else. It is a thrilling back and forth.
This is where the tension unfolds. A series of plans never go as smoothly as intended. This along with Kazuto’s propensity to pass out at the most inopportune times will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. When a movie has too many twists it can be off putting. By definition, movies dealing with con artists have viewers keeping their eyes out for the next big revelation. Ueda jumps headlong into these opposing ideas.
It is a risk that pays off. The reason Special Actors works is Ueda knows how to handle audience expectations brought on by the genre (and his reputation). Instead of trying to guess what the next big twist will be, Ueda has crafted a story that is strong enough to stand on its own. It is the rare case of knowing something is coming up and still being delighted at the revelation.
Building a movie solely around twists can be a huge mistake. Doing so, invites the audience to look for flaws in the story. Special Actors is a well written film that just happens to include some swerves. It will keep audiences engaged the entire time. The film is a twisting and fun journey leading to a rewarding and satisfying destination.