AARDVARK is perhaps the first fiction film to star a man blind since birth. In a role inspired by his own life, Larry Lewis plays a blind man recovering from alcoholism. When Larry joins a Jiu-Jitsu academy he begins a friendship with his charismatic instructor, Darren. But after Darren's hard-partying ways are revealed and a shocking incident occurs, Larry goes on a search for answers fueled by vengeance and his loyalty to his close friend.
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“A first film from young Japanese-American director Kitao Sakurai, the strangely poetic and hybrid creation Aardvark is unique of its kind. Aardvark draws its inspiration from a real person, Larry Lewis, and then builds a fiction around him that flirts with film noir. Larry is a blind recovered alcoholic who regains confidence and dignity through the practice of Jiu Jitsu, a self-defense technique developed in feudal Japan for those disarmed in combat. Larry be- comes friends with his young black teacher Darren, who teaches him not only the art but also the discipline and philosophy of life that is part of Japanese martial arts. When Darren is found murdered, Larry, despite his blindness, embarks on his own investigation to avenge his friend. One recognizes the nod to Zato Ichi, the blind swordsman-hero of a whole series of films whose skill dazzles in fight scenes. The humid atmosphere of a small American southern town recalls another classic self-defense film, John Flynn’s Rolling Thunder, in which a Vietnam veteran sets off to hunt down members of the gang who mangled his hand on his return home from duty. The training scenes exude a homoeroticism that also makes one think of Mishima’s work. A cinephile, Sakurai makes highly original use of his influences – European (especially Fassbinder), Asian and American – and creates a rivet- ing atmosphere, enhanced by superb cinematography.”
The rolling was good, but I can watch that at the gym. The plot, or lack thereof, was terrible. It was one of those movies that make sense when you are "on something", because it sure didn't sober.