Taro (Yoshi) has no family registration and has never been to school. Neglected by his single mother, he spends his time idling on waste ground. ‘Taro’ refers to someone who is nameless. High school students, Eiji (Masaki Suda) and Sugio (Taiga Nakano) are his playmates who enjoy risky, perilous freedom and deviation. One day Eiji gets caught in a fight and gets hold of a gun.
Director Omori, whose typical themes include stray outsiders, says that he wrote Taro the Fool before he made his debut feature The Whispering of the Gods. His latest film reflects morbid symptoms in Japanese society, including the 2016 mass murder at a care home for people with disabilities, the neglect of childcare and of vulnerable people. There is no hint of reason or concern about the consequences in the boys’ reckless behavior, leaving viewers uneasy throughout the film. Yoshi, making his film debut as Taro, brilliantly portrays the fragile, 15-year-old boy who is likely to explode at any moment. (Ellen Y. D. KIM)