Ride or Die (2021) – Review

Rei Nagasawa (Kiko Mizuhara) is a woman that finds herself murdering the abusive husband of another woman that she’s been in love with for over ten years – Nanae Shinoda (Honami Sato). While on the run together after the murder, the pair rekindle their feelings and try to enjoy the last moments they have together, before their freedom is ultimately taken from them. An at times striking drama, filmed and captured in Japan, that has just been released to Netflix.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki
Writers: Ryuichi Hiroki
Starring: Kiko Mizuhara, Honami Sato

It’s fair to say that Japanese film making isn’t exactly a forte of mine, but when Ride or Die came to Netflix recently, and 2021 hasn’t exactly proved itself as being the best of years for new cinematic releases, I thought I’d give it a shot. What eventually transpired, over the extremely long and drawn out one-hundred and forty-two minute runtime, seemed to be some form of complicated and frowned upon relationship between the two female lead characters on display, presented over several different timelines.

As mentioned, with this story revolving around a fairly unique, yet problematic love story that seemed to be unacceptable in Japanese culture, the filmmakers had to do their best when it came to connecting on an emotional level with the viewer – something I felt the filmmakers ultimately fell short on. One thing the flick did not fall short on, however, was the frequent nudity on display and occasional outlandish violence thrown into the mix too.

With that being said, one of the more positive aspects of the picture was the cinematography from start to finish. Japan was showcased really nicely, with the bright lights of Tokyo on full display on more than one occasion, along with some rather easy on the eye landscapes outside of the city center too, with a portion of the film being captured at a desolate, yet effective train station.

In terms of the acting, the two leads, Kiko Mizuhara and Honami Sato, dominated the majority of the on-screen time, starring as Rei Nagasawa and Nanae Shinoda, respectively. It has to be said that that both had just enough appeal, authenticity, and overall charisma to keep the attention of the viewer – neither of the two seemed out of place at any given time.

All in all, if you’re a fan of long, drawn out Japanese cinema, Japanese cinematography, occasional shaky camera work and a considerable amount of close-up camera shots, then you might enjoy Ride or Die more than I did. I do believe this film was aimed at a certain type of audience, but sadly, it seemed like I was not part of that audience. Ride or Die is now available to stream on Netflix.

“Either my husband dies or I die…”

Nanae Shinoda – Ride or Die

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