Sometimes friendships can kill… ‘DEAD OR DIE‘ is an extremely well-executed short film that starts from a somewhat atypical friendship between two hitmen. Director Pine Minegishi uses these two characters to dive into the compromises of human relationships in which sincerity and truth are always influenced by everyday compromises. The result is more of a drama than an action-mystery. Likewise, the story focuses not necessarily on the complexity of the narrative thread, but on the psychology of the characters which is continuously shaped by unpredictable actions or by the orders of some invisible “bosses” interested in playing God. The protagonists face borderline situations that test their morality, their very own human structure, placing themselves on an uncertain ground where good and evil are no longer defined by conventional principles, since compassion can become a great enemy for each of them. Consequently, the tension is consumed on the inside, while words and gestures are always doubled by a state of uncertainty.


What will Tooru do when his boss commands him to kill his colleague? What role does morality or remorse play when your own existence is guided by the demands of an immoral job? Last but not least, how inhuman can Tooru’s act be as long as his mother’s health is at stake?


This atmosphere of permanent suspicion, this perpetual and mute questioning of the justice of their own acts is constructed by Pine Minegishi through two protagonists as elliptical as they are complex. The insidious thrills pervading the entire project are led by a firm and mature vision, in a nightly universe that reflects the very inner darkness of characters in their illusory search for a personal truth. The ethical stake of the project is supported by a thriller-like aesthetic, while the well-paced narrative and psychological substance have the merit to seduce the spectators who, in turn, are invited to mentally provide the two characters the formula for a final redemption. ‘DEAD OR DIE’ is a clever short film that, without adopting a preachy tone, launches a moral dilemma professionally constructed by a director from whom we enthusiastically expect a feature at least as intense as this project.