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Instant Swamp 
Written by: on June 1st, 2010

Theatrical Release Date:
Japan, 2009
Director: Miki Satoshi
Writer: Miki Satoshi
Cast: Kumiko Aso, Ryo Kase, Morio Kazama, Eri Fuse, Kankuro Kudo

DVD released: May 24th, 2010
Approximate running time: 120 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 12 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99

Synopsis: When the magazine that she worked for goes under due to poor circulation. A young woman uncovers a family secret. When she is given a letter that was supposed to be delivered thirty years ago. Unable to confront her comatose mother about the information revealed in the letter. The young woman seeks out the only other person who can give her the answers she seeks.

Instant Swamp instantly pulls you in with a rapid fire montage about its lead character Haname Jinchoge and her daily routines. After this briskly paced opening. The film settles into a more manageable pacing that makes the events which unfold easier to follow and digest. Besides the film’s main protagonist Haname Jinchoge. The film also does a great job fleshing out the other main characters which populate her journey.

Structure wise, even though there is a randomness to the events which unfold. This doesn’t take away from the overall impact of the film as a while. Without a doubt this film’s most enduring asset is the way in which it blurs the line between mundane and larger than life events.

Most of the comedy which occurs in the film is derived from the odd ball characters. Some of the more amusing moments included a scene in which Haname returns to work after eating lunch and her breath reeks. The look of her co-workers faces as she tries to talk to them is priceless. Another moment that stands out includes is a scene where Haname wanting a fresh start after losing her job. She gives away most of her possessions. The men who pick up the items make jokes about the items she is donating.

Performance wise the entire cast are pitch perfect in their respective roles. With the film’s stand out performance coming from Kumiko Aso (Casshern) in the role of Haname Jinchoge. Instant Swamp was written and directed by Miki Satoshi (Turtles Swim Faster Than Expected). Once again Miki Satoshi creates a whimsical story that is never dull and full of surprises.

The DVD:

Third Window Films presents Instant Swamp in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer is a NTSC to PAL standards conversion which does exhibits some minor instances aliasing. There are no major issues with combing as the image looks stable for the majority of the film. Also there are a handful of instances where the image lacks detail and look overly soft. Colors, flesh tones, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Japanese. Dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs to. Removable English subtitles that are error free and easy to read have been included.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 59 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles) and trailers for other film’s also available on DVD from Third Window Films. Overall Instant Swamp gets a serviceable release from Third Window Films that leaves plenty of room for improvement.

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