Turtles Are Suprisingly Fast Swimmers

Turtles Are Suprisingly Fast Swimmers


Reviewed by: Emma Slawinski

Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers belongs to that genre of quietly quirky comedies that swell at the seams with oddball characters. In this case, rather than purely showcasing a mild-mannered freakshow of residents, it uses them to investigate the elusive concept of 'ordinary'. Whether it reaches any meaningful conclusion is a different story.

Twenty-three-year-old Suzume (Sparrow, in English) lives a humdrum life with only her husband's pet turtle for company. She doesn't need to work, but hangs around her colourful retro-chic kitchen waiting for her husband - who works overseas - to call. When he does, it's only to ask how the turtle is.

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Days on end are spent in exactly the same way, until Suzume spots an advertisement recruiting spies. It promises to shake up her uneventful existence, but once she's accepted into the fraternity of small-town agents, it turns out their main endeavour is to blend in at all times, while waiting for 'the call'. We then follow Suzume and her new friends practicing being unremarkable.

Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers is a miscellany of characters, scenes and events that studiously avoids a plot. Imagine Amelie drained of both sentimentality and romance, just a whimsical stream of absurdity, and much less engaging. There are moments of wit and the odd thoughtful comment, but they turn into dead ends; the result is disappointingly ordinary.

Reviewed on: 07 Nov 2008
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Turtles Are Suprisingly Fast Swimmers packshot
A young woman in small-town Japan leads a dull and solitary life, until she stumbles into a local spy ring.

Director: Satoshi Miki

Writer: Satoshi Miki

Starring: Juri Ueno, Yû Aoi, Ryo Iwamatsu, Eri Fuse, Jun Kaname, Masatô Ibu, Vincent Giry, Yasuhito Hida, Shunsuke Matsuoka, Yutaka Matsushige, Kenji Mizuhashi

Year: 2005

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Japan


Raindance 2008

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