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2LDK

MVD Entertainment Group // Unrated // April 5, 2022
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted April 6, 2022 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:


Shot over a scant eight days, 2LDK was born when directors Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Ryƻhei Kitamura finished their work on the 2002 anthology movie Jam Films so quickly that producer Shin-ya Kawai asked each filmmaker to create separate films each using only two actors and one setting over a week-long period. Kitamura delivered 2003's Aragami and Tsutsumi's film was 2003's 2LDK.


Briskly paced at only sixty-nine minutes in length, the film's unusual name comes from the apartment number of the humble abode inhabited by two Tokyo roommates, Lana (Maho Nonami) and Kimi (Eiko Koike), though it's also a way that apartments can be described in Japan (two bedrooms = 2L, one dining room = D and one kitchen = K!). Kimi comes from a small town and is on the meek and mild side, while Tokyo native Lana is the bolder and brasher of the two lovely young ladies. They don't always get along perfectly, but up until recently have done okay despite minor disagreements here and there.


However, when both women, aspiring actresses, find themselves competing not only for the same part in an upcoming movie but also for the same man, those minor disagreements quickly spiral out of control and become increasingly sadistic and violent!


Shot entirely inside a single apartment, Tsutsumi's film is a sometimes effectively claustrophobic picture that deftly mixes horror, action and pitch-black humor to nice effect and it winds up working quite well. It's almost as if, as the girls grow increasingly agitated and then insanely frustrated, their disagreement becomes less about the movie role and the man and more about simply outdoing one another. As this plays out on the screen, petty acts of annoyance quickly devolve into insane acts of violence, culminating in a pretty great scene with a chainsaw that you can probably figure out on your own.


Those excepting the underground gore of pictures like the Guinea Pig movies or maybe something like My Red Guts or Tumbling Doll Of Flesh won't find faux-snuff thrills in this picture but it does get pretty sadistic in its own way, even if it never goes to the levels that gorehounds might expect it to, given that Unearthed Films has dabbled in that arena more than a few times, but honestly, it doesn't need to. The performances matter more than the splatter in this movie, and Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike both do fantastic jobs in their respective roles. As their annoyance blossoms into hatred, you get the sense that these two really could wind up killing each other, and while things do go over the top more than once, Tsutsumi never loses control of the narrative. By keeping the pacing tight and really letting his leads go for it, he delivers a seriously entertaining and, at times, genuinely suspenseful picture.


The Video:


Unearthed Films brings 2LDK to region A Blu-ray on a 50GB disc with the sixty-nine minute feature taking up just under 17GBs of space and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. This was shot on film so expect it to be bit a grainy. There are occasionally some small white specks noticeable here and there but nothing in the way of really bothersome print damage. A few compression artifacts can be seen here and there is some minor ghosting in a few spots but overall, the transfer is decent if never reference quality. Detail is quite good and colors are reproduced naturally with good black levels and accurate looking skin tones.


The Audio:


Japanese language audio options are provided in 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Stereo options with removable subtitles available in English only. No problems to note here, the audio quality is solid. The 5.1 track is the more fun of the two as it spreads out the effects quite effectively in a few sequences but both tracks are clean, clear and nicely balanced and the subtitles are easy to read.


The Extras:


Extras on the disc start off with a commentary from Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike, in Japanese with English subtitles. They talk here about their experiences working on the picture, shooting it in the cold weather, how they didn't think they film would get released after the delayed shooting schedule, taking direction from Yukihiko Tsutsumi and how detail oriented he was, thoughts on the main characters in the movie, their initial reactions to the script, some of the subtle bits in the film they like that a lot people don't notice, suffering from the flu during the shoot, times that they were legitimately scared while working on the film, moments where they aren't so much acting as legitimately angry, working with the chainsaw and quite a bit more.


From there, check out a bunch of featurettes, starting with the Making Of 2LDK, an eighteen minute featurette that serves as an EPK of sorts, introducing the cast and crew, noting the quick eight day shoot and showing off a bunch of behind the scenes footage. The two leads seem to have had a pretty good time making the movie at first but do start to feel the stress from the workload and pressure that they were under. Interviews with Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike give us a feel for their thoughts on their characters, working together and what went into filming some of the crazier set pieces while Yukihiko Tsutsumi shares his thoughts on the actresses and on making the film.


The Duel Production Briefing piece is a ten minute featurette shot at a screening of some sort that details the competition that arose between Yukihiko Tsutsumi and director Ryuhei Kitamura that lead to the making of 2LDK, what inspired the movie, how the two directors got along and more. Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike show up and talk about what it was like on set, one actress getting sick and giving the other the flu, arguments that arose over certain things and staging some of the more memorable set pieces.


The five minute Video Message For Theater Audience features the director and his two leading ladies talking about the burn out the two leads felt on set after initially thinking it would be fun, what makes the film unique and enjoyable, Tsutsumi's hair and how they hope the audience will be entertained by their efforts.


The Tokyo International Film Festival Interviews section is four and a half minutes of footage from the 2002 festival where Tsutsumi and the two leads provide a quick introduction to the movie, noting how men and women may view the film differently, how the movie targets a female audience and the differences between the two characters in the film.


In the Premiere Screening Interviews section we get a quick two minute intro to the movie from Tsutsumi and the actresses, while in the Screening At Kudan Kaikan Interviews we get a similar three minute introduction from Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike as they field a handful of questions from the audience.


Rounding out the extras on the disc is a still gallery for the feature and trailers for the feature, Evil Dead Trap, Premutos, Untold Story and A Serbian Films. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided.


Overall:

2LDK is really well done, it's as entertaining as it is suspenseful. The direction is strong and the acting form the two leads really seals the deal. Unearthed Films has done a nice job bringing this gem of a picture to North American Blu-ray, with a nice presentation and some pretty good extra features as well. Recommended!

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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