Invincible Asia’s review published on Letterboxd:
Vital is a SHOCKINGly dull examination of amnesia and guilt directed by Shinya Tsukamoto and starring Tadanobu Asano.
Tadanaobu plays the medical student Hiroshi who wakes up in a hospital room after a car accident that caused the death of his girlfriend Ryoko played by Nami Tsukamoto. I guess she’s Shinya’s daughter as her age fits and this is her only acting gig. For a good reason..
Now Hiroshi lost his memory due to the accident and is desperate to find out whether he was responsible for it and thus for Ryoko’s death. When trying to regain his memory he finds his old medical textbooks that seem to help him and he picks up his studies again and ends up dissecting the body of his girlfriend, while constantly hallucinating she’s standing beside him.
Now Chu Ishikawa’s score has some neat moments and there are two or three classic Tsukamoto montage sequences that create some atmosphere, but that’s it.
That’s literally it.
Oh no, memory loss, dead girlfriend's parents mourn, he mourns, he has to dissect her and that’s it. Well there’s a dream sequence where Ryoko dances ballet at the beach because Nami Tsukamoto is a trained ballet dancer. Any other reason for implementing that scene was lost one me.
It’s fair to say that eleven movies into his filmography this is the first Tsukamoto film that didn’t do anything for me. I even enjoyed The Bullet Man more and that one didn’t even slightly deserve to be part of the Tetsuo series. Disappointing, bland, not vital at all but more like a dead fish in a dry lake, with hardly any of the radical and kinetic Tsukamoto style and thus obsolete.