Perfect Education 2: 40 Days Of Love (Japan 2001)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/14/02
Cast: Rie Fukaumi

As far as I can tell, this is a completely unrelated sequel to the original "Perfect Education." Haruka Tsumuro (pretty Rie Fukaumi) is your typically despondent 17 year-old Japanese schoolgirl who gets kidnapped by a pathetic middle-aged school teacher. He keeps her bound and gagged in his apartment and takes nude photographs of her, but he can't bring himself to actually rape her. After two weeks of incarceration, she finally breaks and starts to fall in love with her captor. This creepy relationship of desperation is bound to end in tragedy, and she is eventually reluctantly rescued by the police. She desperately tries to forget the ordeal, but finds that she can't - but her kind therapist believes she can make a full recovery.

First of all, I'm not a fan of this genre at all, and it's really uncomfortable to see women being victimized like this. Curiously enough, the film plays heavily on the psychological drama between the characters and almost completely avoids the exploitation angle so prevalent in these films. In this way, the film is actually tolerable to watch, and is quite possibly even more disturbing than if it had just been a nasty rape flick. Of course, the only real reason to watch this movie at all is to witness the captivating beauty and harsh intensity of model/actress Rie Fukaumi. Unfortunately, even with her at the helm, the film leaves a bad taste.

What struck me as most interesting about this direct-to-video release is how cheap this movie must have been to produce. It features less than a dozen actors and primarily takes place in a single cramped set. There's no background music to speak of and there's not even any ambient noise. The camerawork is simplistic and mostly static, and everything about the production seems minimalistic. And yet, it actually works to successfully tell the story. Other genres would not benefit from this soap opera style approach at all. Perhaps that's why erotic thrillers are so popular - because they're cheap and easy to produce.