The movies opens with a very poignant quote, and it does set the overall tone for what you see over the next two hours. The only problem is what you see is constant “fake outs”, a very confusing narrative, and what I consider to be the worst subtitles I’ve ever seen. Some words are missing, and entire phrases are jumbled. I could ignore that if there weren’t so many. I’m not one to say that a movie should be in English, but with this much dialog it would’ve been a wise choice. Now we move on to the actual plot.
My Engine’s Fragile Sound is told from the perspective of a fetus of a comatose burn victim. To its credit, I do like the poetic flow of the narration. You realize the engine is the mother’s heart, and the fragility comes from the mother hovering between life and death. At least that’s how the movie sets up the plot. We end up following the mother’s nurse, who occasionally spends time with her paraplegic husband when she’s not flirting with his best friend. This woman is supposed to be our hero…I think. I have to admit I was lost several times because this movie had no clear direction. But I haven’t gotten to the biggest mess of all: who’s actually narrating the film?
At first it’s the burn victim’s baby. Just kidding! Mother and baby die 45 minutes in. Okay, now it’s the nurse and the child conceived out of her affair. Wrong again! She had an abortion…maybe. Well she says she had one multiple times in the second half, but it’s never cleared up by the end of the movie. It’s actually her husband, who ends up being the serial arsonist/killer, and who sent her love letters disguising himself as the alleged arson suspect. Oh yeah there’s also a killer roaming around, and they make it a point to mention he covers his victims in soap before roasting them alive. We learn that the husband regresses (or something) and his inner child has been trying to explain why he snapped.
Are you slowly becoming frustrated by my lack of direction in this review? Congratulations! You just experienced what it’s like to watch My Engine’s Fragile Sound. Pissed off? Annoyed? More confused than ever? Stay with me, I’m about to wrap this up. I wanted to like this movie so badly. It’s visually and verbally stunning. Every word (that’s translated correctly and not omitted) really does put you in the mindset of all the characters. However, when the characters aren’t given time to grow along with every plot point, it comes off as shallow and does not match the beauty that is found in the words. I give this 1/5. Every aspect outside of the script shows just how little this movie has to offer. Not even the unintentionally comedic plot twist at the end could save it. It’s a shame that something so promising could fall so flat.