Comedy Fantasia Festival

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Special Actors’

August 21, 2020Ben MK

The term actor might conjure up the image of someone who travels the world filming movies and attending Hollywood premieres — but not everyone who considers themselves a thespian can profess to live such a glamorous life.

A nervous wreck who's prone to fainting at his auditions, Kazuto Ohno (Kazuto Osawa) has yet to land any of the roles he's tried out for. But his luck begins to change after a run-in with his younger brother, Hiroki (Hiroki Kono), who turns him onto an ambitious little company called Special Actors. Soon Kazuto is playing the part of dissatisfied restaurant-goer or the thankful patron of a fortune teller — only not in a movie or TV show, but in real life. His most important role is yet to come, however, when he and Hiroki are recruited to help rescue a young woman from the clutches of a manipulative and money-grubbing cult.

Director Shinichiro Ueda's followup to One Cut of the Dead, Special Actors is an awkwardly charming and decidedly offbeat comedy about underdogs. But perhaps more so, it also shows how a little acting in everyday situations can sometimes be more entertaining than any on-screen role.

Special Actors makes its Canadian premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 49 min.

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