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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Gay > Tokyo Cowboy

Tokyo Cowboy


Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: D†††† Film: B-



In Animť, we see the Japanese admiration of American Pop culture, but the initial curiosity goes back to myths of the Old West.Ogawa (Hiromoto Ida) has romantic ideas of how that can work and as a kid, even has a pen pal.When he decides to visit that pen pal Kate (Christina Hirt), instead of a cowgirl, he meets a regular gal who happens to have a female lover.Thus being the amusing odyssey that is Kathy Garneauís Tokyo Cowboy (1985).


Caroline Andersonís screenplay actually sets the film in the Canadian West, but the semantics mocked are definitely that of the Hollywood Western, down to these moments being practically fantasy sequences.The film never gets heavy-handed either; the film subtly plays around with identity for comic effect and is at least a pleasant film that has a deserved reputation the critics gave it.It is very laid back and has some amusing moments, but also, that it happened in the mid-1980s in itself seems remarkable.


Though it does not go off into any directions that make it serious or striking, it is a film where gender is playfully handled in a way that makes sense and is consistently believable enough to sit through without distraction.The more you consider gender, the more interesting and amusing it becomes, but it should also be said that this is the kind of independent film that we used to get all the time in a creatively healthier film industry that is satisfying, laid back and smart.Thatís a victory Tokyo Cowboy will always be able to celebrate.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is fairly good for its age and this format, but not with the clarity it might have had as an anamorphic transfer.It is expected that this was shot with at least 1.85 x 1 in mind and 16 X 9 HDTV ratio does not seem to hurt the compositions by cinematographer Kenneth Hewlett is nice, including the black and white Western fantasy sequences.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a bit warped at the beginning and end of the film, but is not bad for its age, but such distortions seem to surface more often in Ultra Stereo analog recordings.This was a system that was a bad carbon copy of Dolby already limited A-type analog theatrical sound system from the late 1970s.This version has some healthy Pro Logic surrounds and is lucky to be in the good shape its in.The only extras are two trailers, including one for this film, but it would be nice to hear what the cast and crew have to say about this film in reflection down the line.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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