Shinji Hamasaki’s Not Quite Dead Yet is a fast paced comedy about a young woman who has been tasked with saving the life of her not quite dead yet father. Why should she save him? He smells like elephants and is always sucking the fun out of everything. Directed by Hamasaki and written by Yoshimitsu Sawamoto, Not Quite Dead Yet is a clever fantasy filled with Shakespearean tropes and outstanding characters.
Nanase Nobata (Suzu Hirose) has been taught to look at life through a scientific lens. Her childhood is composed of memories of her father happily explaining away anything remotely magic with science. All of this has made Nanase grow up with a thorough understanding of chemistry and resentment against her oblivious good natured father. Nanase channels her rage into her death rock band Soulzz where she sings about her father’s impending doom. Her father, who can only focus on work, is worried about a spy in the company. He is persuaded to take part in a plan to fake his death to lure the spy out of hiding. Kei Nobata (Shin’ici Tsutsumi) takes the Juliet drug and has forty-eight hours to wake up. It becomes Nanase’s mission to save his company and wake him before his deathlike state becomes permanent.
Sawamoto’s writing is clever and experiments with some classic Shakespearean tropes. Schemes, betrayal, trickery, and even romance play a part in this hilarious story. Tsutsumi and Hirose share a wonderful chemistry as father and daughter. Their scenes are hilarious with enough heart that it’s never over sentimental. This attention to tone and personas develop the characters well staying true to them and the overall nature of the film.
Not Quite Dead Yet is a film filled with tension, humor, and of course death (index fingers up). Every joke and details pays off in some manner or another. Not Quite Dead Yet is currently playing at the Fantasia Fest.
The Fantasia Film Festival takes place in person and online from August 5 – August 25
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