First Love

There’s a budding relationship at the heart of First Love—a tender, tentative romance between Leo (Masataka Kubota), a boxer with a brain tumor, and Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a young, drug-addicted woman forced into prostitution to pay off the debts of her abusive father. And as it progresses, First Love follows the traditional beats of a cinematic love story, starting with a meet-cute and ending with a happily ever after. But this is a Takashi Miike movie, after all, so there's also an ongoing war between Japanese and Chinese gangs, along with a bumbling gangster, a crooked cop, and stolen drugs. Which means every moment of the duo’s courtship is punctuated by a moment of violence. Here for the romance? Great. Not here for the romance? Brush it aside, and focus instead on every other tense, brutal moment. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

by Robert Ham
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Trailer

Credits
Director
Takashi Miike
Cast
Masataka Kubota, Shôta Sometani, Nao Ohmori