Moonlight Express (1999)
Reviewed by: lordmanji on 2000-11-28
Summary: A Modern Melancholy Fairytale
Moonlight Express is at its heart a touching love story, and specifically one of karmatic love, tied together by dreamy cinematography and wandering narrative.

The story begins unexpectedly with **SPOILER** the death of Hitomi's fiance, and so she travels to Hk like he had promised her to hit selected sites. Unbeknownst to her is a man who looks exactly like her fiance, by the name of Karbo. What happens next is a whirlwhind of dirty police underdealings and a budding love between Hitomi and Karbo. The theme/question is repeatedly raised whether or not Hitomi can love Karbo as his own man, and not just as a substitute for Tetsuoya, and also if Karbo will reduce himself to a replacement. The ending scene is filmed with a glossy, soft camera lens, invoking "dreamy faraway" images, and with the ending scene, **Possible Spoiler** Hitomi asks testingly, "what is your name?" And Karbo's answer is the resolution to the film, merely by stating his name.

Analysis of plot aside, the movie's gentle tone is woven with occasional bursts of energy, such as Hitomi's chase scene after Karbo, or Karbo's last stand at the police station. The overall tone of Moonlight Express is that of longing and fulfillment concerning love, and can be summed up in the image of the waves which Hitomi narrates carries Tetsuoya's soul.

And this is the lasting impression that ME leaves -- fulfilled experience, but longing for sequel.