'Dead or Die' follows the story of Tooru, an average man who works for the underground mob. He doesn't seem like the regular merciless killer because he is not involved in this for vengeance. His primary purpose is to raise some money to pay for his mother's medical expenses. As it turns out, he loves his mother very much, and cares about her deeply, being able to do anything he can just to know she is safe. One day, Tooru, played by Takuya Hotori, and his colleague Takeru, played by Tsukasa Tsuchiya, is in a mission where things seem normal. One phone call is everything that takes to change the whole story in a blink of an eye. Tooru has a tough choice to make – will he do the right thing?
In 'Dead or Die', we find the quote that says 'a good deed's visual description never comes unpunished'. The story has enough perspective to unveil the whole descriptive package in front of the viewer. The characters are easy to read based on their actions; the narrative is engaging and dynamic, presenting a straightforward situation. The whole story seems like a modern-day fable from which people of all ages can learn plenty of things.
The film is packed with intriguing shots, but there is one that we consider it to be iconic. Near the end of the film, Takeru and Tooru are outside of a car, one in each side. They look at each other in the eye as they talk, but down at window level, they both hold their guns out, pointed one at each other. The scene is a perfect re-enactment of a cowboy’s 'fast draw', where there is a direct connection between the index finger and the eagle eye.
The ending is surprising, to say the least, but it is the only way of giving 'Dead or Die' the magical aura it deserves. Pine Minegishi's vision is unique, the reason why we believe that viewers will appreciate his approach. The combination of non-descriptive brutality combined with kindness makes 'Dead or Die' one of the best short films we've seen this month.
Written by Vlad A. G