First Love (Hatsukoi) Review


First Love (Japanese: 初恋, Hepburn: Hatsukoi) is a 2019 crime thriller film directed by Takashi Miike. It tells the story of a boxer and a call girl who become unwittingly involved in a drug-smuggling scheme. The film premiered on 17 May 2019 in Directors' Fortnight, before being released in theaters in the United Kingdom and Japan in February 2020.


A young boxer Leo was abandoned as a child and has no family. He works at a Chinese restaurant in Kabukichō, Tokyo as his day job. After losing a match, he is told by a doctor that he suffers a brain tumor. To pay off her abusive father's debts, a young girl Yuri, who uses the pseudonym Monica, is forced to be a call girl and a drug addict.


She sometimes sees hallucinations of her father and her estranged former classmate. She is trapped by a yakuza Yasu and his girlfriend Julie in an apartment, which is used as one of the drug dealing hubs.


A yakuza Kase and a corrupt cop Ōtomo plan a drug-smuggling scheme. One night, Ōtomo takes Yuri out of the apartment. When she tries to run away from Ōtomo and a hallucination of her father, she encounters with Leo on the street. Leo hits Ōtomo in the face and decides to help Yuri. Kase goes to the apartment and steals the drugs, but he kills Yasu in the process.


Kase makes a Chinese triad man abduct Julie to stop her for a while. Julie kills the man and goes back to the apartment, learning that Yasu was killed by someone. Assuming that the Chinese triad stole the drugs and abducted Yuri, an old-school yakuza Gondō goes out with his colleagues to find Yuri.


Around the same time, Chiachi, who is a female member of the Chinese triad, and her colleagues are also sent to find Yuri.

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