Instant Swamp is a comedy about Haname Jinchoge (Kumiko Aso), an occasionally eccentric but focused magazine editor. The film centres on her journey through her work and family life. She wakes up everyday thinking that day will be different but she goes to bed disappointed. She believes her daily dose of Milo sludge which is a mixture of ten spoonfuls of Milo and milk is what she needs to make her happy.
Haname is adamant about her belief in superstition but secretly believes her bad luck is due to a black talisman cat she threw into a swamp as a revenge on her father for abandoning her. Her magazine company on the verge of going bust is just a tip of the ice-berg as her mother also falls into a coma. Haname embarks on a journey in search of her real father and the different boundaries she comes across makes her a better and care free person.
She discovers the identity of her real father Noburo Jinchoge (Morio Kazama) aka ‘Mr Light Bulb’. He also turns out to be an eccentric antiquities shop owner. She doesn’t reveal her identity to him from the beginning but with time she gets swept into his whimsical hobbies and a bond soon develops as both start to hang out a lot. The new found closeness with her biological father gives her the idea of also starting a delightful junk shop.
Instant Swamp is a film with definitely hilarious bits. The humour although subtle was effective. The high key lighting makes the film upbeat and light hearted and appeals to people who like simplistic East-Asian light hearted comedies. The characters bounce of each other in amusing ways. Similarly there are several little stories within ‘Instant Swamp’ and we are also able to move from one to another without feeling confused.
Haname’s character is likeable and also the loss of structure and responsibility sometimes motivates her to act as an adult. Her blooming friendship with the spike-haired electrician Gus (Ryo Kase) is a twist that pleased the audience. Secretly the audience expected a bit of romance to have blossomed between the two, but they are not left disappointed when they wind up as very close friends.
The story was effectively told through Haname’s life journey which also gives her a realisation of the things surrounding her.
Directed by Satoshi Miki
Running time: 120 minutes
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)