Film Review: To Tokyo

Abuse is a difficult thing to deal with, let alone talk about. Victims often internalise their pain and suffering which can lead to self-destructive or dangerous behaviour. When that abuse is perpetrated by a family member or someone in a position of trust, the reaction can be so strong that it’s almost paralysing. In Caspar Seale Jones’ new film To Tokyo, he focusses on someone trying to outrun their traumatic past.

After suffering abuse at the hands of her step-father, Alice (Florence Kosky) has run away from her English home and fled to Japan. There, in a small village, she barricades herself into a hotel room. Trying to keep the outside world at bay. She’s tracked down by her half-sister (Emily Seale-Jones) who breaks the bad news that her mother is dying. Alice has four days to get to Tokyo but the journey she has to make is not simply a geographical one.

To Tokyo is a beautifully shot and intriguing fantasy drama about a young woman who needs to face-up to her inner demons. The approach the subject of trauma through a strange imaginary world with a monstrous gatekeeper is a clever one. However, the concept would probably have worked better as a short and the acting sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. There’s much to admire in To Tokyo, it’s just a shame that it’s constrained by its limitations.

To Tokyo is in select cinemas from 30 September.

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