THE MAGIC HOUR
Za majikku aw?
“Three Laughs a Minute” by Japan’s Master of Comedy
Koki Mitani Conjures up “The Magic Hour”!
Nobody in Japanese entertainment has come close to rivaling Koki Mitani for comedic screenwriting talent ever since he made his film directorial debut with the multiple award-winning “Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald” in 1997 (winner of the Prize Don Quixote at the Berlin Film Festival).
His string of box office successes continued with “All About Our House” (’01), and “Suite Dreams” (’05), a fast-paced farce set in a four-start hotel and featuring an all-star ensemble cast. “Suite Dreams” drew an audience of 4.7 million and total domestic box office earnings exceeding 6 billion yen, a rare achievement for a non-adapted film. But Koki Mitani’s unique storytelling abilities have helped to establish an unprecedented brand value to his name that translates into box office hits. With expectations running high, Mitani has just completed his fourth feature film from a self-penned screenplay called, “The Magic Hour,” a “turbo-charged, non-stop comedy” about a hapless middle-aged actor who gets tricked into thinking he’s playing the role of a legendary hit man, only to find himself at the center of a real-life gang war. Mitani’s stated goal for The Magic Hour is to have audiences howling in their seats at a rate of about three laughs a minute.
“If you value your life, bring me that legendary assassin within five days.”
Bingo (Satoshi Tsumabuki) has stolen away the girlfriend (Eri Fukatsu) of his crime syndicate boss (Toshiyuki Nishida), and now he faces an ultimatum: find him a legendary assassin named Della Togashi, or die. But time is running out and Della’s whereabouts remain moot. As a desperate measure, Bingo decides to hire a failing actor, Taiki Murata (Koichi Sato) to play the part of the elusive assassin. Believing he’ll be starring in an epic gangster film in the role of his life, Taiki comes to the port town of Sucago, where the film is to be shot. In his attempt to convince his boss that he has found Della Togashi, Bingo inadvertently winds up indenturing Taiki into the service of the town’s crime syndicate just as it prepares for a major gang war.