Hiroki Ryuichi’s ‘Ride or Die’ is an adaptation of the popular manga series ‘Gunjo’ by Nakamura Ching. It is the right kind of change that audiences need from modern films that simplify stories and give a refreshing aura to the scene. The film is a definite description of friendship that flippers through the time it goes on as easily as it shifts through genres.
Also, many of the films’ stories end up not being explored as much as they could have. However, the film retains its momentum and successfully rolls over excellent chapters because of how the director neglects to keep score between its characters. The film begins with a straight Japanese housewife who has, all along her life, been abused by men.
She then convinces her estranged lesbian friend who has been in love with her since they were in high school to kill her husband after he gets violent with her. Even from the start, the movie misses a few vital details of what’s happening. It’s almost like even though the event that just happened might be right.
As brazen as it might be for Sato Honami (Nanae) to offer Rei (Mizuhara Kiko) sex in return for murder, the sordid manipulation is so open that it almost looks like another truth that has to be displayed. At some point, it becomes crystal clear that Nanae won’t keep up her end of the deal soon. As she gets naked on her bed in a Tokyo apartment, Rei sees that her body still has fresh bruises. In spite of this, there’s still some kind of intimacy to how both of the women are able to come to terms with what they expect from each other.
From the perspective of a viewer, the arrangement may seem exploitative. However, there’s also the chance that the film brings to light the transactional nature of humans. There’s also the chance that Rei and Nanae have come to the realization that even after more than a decade without each other, they could still give each other something that they’ve both lost.
Whatever some of the film’s lessons may be, it doesn’t send viewers down the most obvious paths. It is gassed up by sexual friction and residual teenage energy which is quite excellent for a movie that goes on at top gear. Nanae and her partner Rei don’t behave like killers that are on the run. But, they look like old friends who are enjoying a girls trip together. They don’t waste their time moping about in sadness and nor are they appalled at the evidence trail that may be following them around their journey as they sing along to their favorite songs from their long gone high school years.
We later learn that Rei’s family is rich but have disowned her because of her sexuality and that Nanae comes from a poor and broken family. She was forced to sell her body when she was younger to make ends meet. The film is definitely a must watch for anyone who is looking for something different in a movie.