I like cats, let’s get that out the way right at the start here. Rent-A-Cat does not disappoint on the cat quota, if cats are your thing then this film is for you. However this film is more than just a feature length viral cat video. Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa) is the wonderfully quirky lead of the
piece who strongly believes in the power of cats to fill the holes in people’s hearts and by the end of the film so will you. The film is split into four episodes, each focusing on a different lonely person but the overarching story belongs to Sayoko and her search for companionship.
Cats may be everywhere in this film but loneliness is the main theme. An old lady, a business man and an employee at a car rental company all turn to Sayoko and her odd cat rental cart for help. Unfortunately all the cats in the world don’t seem to be able to cure Sayoko’s own loneliness. Sayoko’s is brilliantly played by Ichikawa, instantly likeable and charming the audience connect with her at once.
Unfortunately there are a number of problems with the film that let it down. Though I was charmed from an early point, the episodic structure and deliberate repetition throughout the film began to drag. The film repeats dialogue, metaphors and even structure in each episode of the film, it’s an interesting idea it just didn’t work to great effect other than to make the film feel longer than it actually was. The film has a run time of only 110 minutes yet it feels much longer.
The main character is engaging, it looks great and there are cats everywhere. This film has the potential to be great but unfortunately the structure lets it down.