Is Fake the Greatest Comics Movie?
by Travis Hedge Coke
I blush through 87% of Fake, and it’s a movie about a serial killer in the English countryside.
Based on an arc of the manga by Sanami Matoh, this 1996 anime directed by Iku Suzuki (dir. Domain of Murder; Moonlight Mile) follows to American police, Dee Laytner and Randy MacLean, to Britain, where they have scheduled a shared vacation at an isolated bed and breakfast. Dee intends the seduce his partner while they relax, but instead they stumble upon a body floating in a lake and from there a conspiracy of multiple murder and a conspiracy, by two juvenile delinquents they try the mentor, who have followed them after a bet it n whether the two cops hook up.
True true its roots, the movie is not exactly a cozy mystery but not precisely serious, either. A romantic sitcom with violence.
A movie heavily anchored by violent racism and both homophobic and gay-fetishizing teens, where people are tortured, stabbed to death, and there is a crying ghost and a non-explicit but still chilling gang rape, and I’m blushing?
I do not understand on any personal level the Hannibal fandom which treats Hannibal as a reflection of us or of classy-good. I can’t watch anything with Freddy Krueger and not be thinking about how he is a child-rapist and sadist. I am a stick in this particular mud. And, this is territory many scripts would dive into, and many would find appealing.
Fake has no empathy for its murderers. The original comic does not, but Akinori Endo (screenwriter of Armitage III and Domain of Murder) pares that down, even, into a very deliberate contrast, not a “two sides, same coin” attempt at cynical relevancy.
Dee can come off borderline date-rapey in tone, it is always borderline at most. He does not cross the line. He is, for all the play-acting, patient, and concerned, and fair. And, he rescues his not-boyfriend by driving a motorcycle through a hotel window and planting the front wheel on the face of a racist. Always a good sign.
One of the hallmarks of the comic on which this is based, is that hidden depths are not contradictions. At a runtime of about an hour, the move has to explore these a bit faster than the comic, but it manages to do so while giving us what feel like long, leisurely, or sweetly energetic but eternal romance sequences. A lovely mid-afternoon boat ride for two. A drink on the veranda in the moonlight.
Soon after the youths, they are also joined by old boyfriends and new prospects on the love hunt, both police.
Like the administrative politics of the NYPD and local English police, the names of the American characters are sometimes more at ease for Japanese than American. Is the young girl’s name Cal or Carol? Is Billy correct? Or, is it Vicky? BK? Jemmy or Jeremy?
Those aspects aren’t what’s important. If she is a Cal or Carol for you, that is enough. That the character names exist in between definite states strengthens the magical aspect, the fairytale or sitcom ambience. The romance is important. The crimes. The situation. The character interplay. Whether you can solve before the characters do and whether Randy and Dee can save each other before it’s too late.
And, one of them is always getting into trouble the other needs to bail them out of. Fake is solidly romantic but it is also a buddy movie, a buddy story. Not rescuer and rescuee; partners.
That’s what keeps me blushing. No matter the absurdity and complication of their world, Randy and Dee are partners.
Is Fake the Greatest Comics Movie?
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