For Love's Sake (2012)

Directed by
It's a Miike musical
Reviewed by Simon on 2020-08-31

Makoto grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and has a chip on his shoulder a mile wide, whilst Ai grew up with every possible privilege - but as a little boy Makoto once rescued Ai from an accident and Ai remembers.

Years later the two cross paths again, Makoto is a street fighting punk whilst Ai goes to an elite school, so Ai resolves to turn his life around, starting with persuading her father to get him a position at her school.

When Third Window Films announced they were going to release a Bollywood style musical directed by Takashi Miike I leapt on it straight away - what could be more fun? Unfortunately we may never know, because FOR LOVE'S SAKE is not a Bollywood style musical at all, it's a Western style musical... a very different beast.

In Bollywood the songs are real songs, sung by real singers, and feature as interludes - a colourful break from the action. Once they're over nobody acts like that was a thing that really happened, and the songs do not move the plot forward. In contrast, the songs in FOR LOVE'S SAKE are sung by the cast members and take place in the world as if they were part of the plot - like a Western musical.

I love Bollywood and hate Western musicals, so expecting one and getting the other was an unpleasant surprise... I turned the film off after about 30 minutes, and didn't go back to it for ... umm, 7 years apparently.

This time I at least knew what I was getting myself into, and was more or less in the right state of mind for it. I guess from some of the styling that it's a riff on WEST SIDE STORY (or GUYS AND DOLLS or... I don't know, I don't watch these things). The music is quite diverse but would mostly be classed as rock I think ... does that make it a rock opera?

It is a very colourful and stylish film, and as you would expect from Takashi Miike it is quite irreverent and subverts genre conventions... well I assume it does, anyway.

For quite a long time in the second half there is a lot more fighting than singing, which is nice, especially as the brawls are well staged and filmed.

I was hoping for a slightly more cynical ending, but it's quite satisfying as it is.