‘Executive Koala’ (2005) Review

In his book Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker notes that every story can be boiled down to one of seven different plots. So an original story is non-existent. It’s not the story that’s important, but how you tell the story that is.

Apparently Japan heard this and decided the only way to be original was to be as batshit crazy as humanly possible.

The leader of the pack is undeniably Takashii Miike. The man behind films such as Visitor Q, Ichi the Killer, and The Happiness of the Katakuris has released at least two crazy movies a year for the last 15 years.

Although still relatively obscure, Minoru Kawasaki has been slowly moving up the ranks of this crazy army. If Miike is the General, Kawasaki is at least a Captain. Which is impressive considering he has only four films that are readily available.

Executive Koala tells the story of an average salary man named Tamura working at a pickle distribution company. He’s working hard to broker a deal between two companies to have a monopoly on the kimchi industry. He’s well liked, hard-working, and a six-foot tall koala.

In every book in the The Vampire Chronicles, author Anne Rice goes out of her way to let the reader know that Lestat being a vampire is irrelevant. He could be anything. He just happens to be a vampire.

Tamura just happens to be a koala. And his boss just happens to be a rabbit. And his girlfriend just happens to be murdered. But by who?

On the surface, Executive Koala is a wacky comedy about a koala businessman. But at its core it is a deadly serious drama about a murder mystery.

It’s not as serious as say David Lynch’s Rabbits, but it plays the drama straight and that’s where the comedy comes from. The movie never winks at the audience, but it does expect you to take it’s premise seriously.

With all the plot twists and red herrings that come with the genre, Executive Koala adds enough originality and craziness to the mixture. You’ll never know exactly where the film is going to end up.

Executive Koala is the type of film America would never make, but I’m glad Kawasaki did. Tamura is a champ at spreadsheets and a champ at spreading dem sheets.

A-Wink.