Executive Koala

From the director of Crab Goalkeeper and  Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala is a 2005 Japanese (obviously) comedy/psychological thriller about an executive koala.

The low-fi, live-action (apart from a cute cartoon intro/song) absurdist drama follows a marsupial manager at a pickle company who finds himself in a pickle of his own when he’s accused of murdering his (human) girlfriend. Think A History of Violence but with a koala.

In addition to having one of the greatest titles in cinematic history, Executive Koala (available for free on YouTube) employs satirical elements surrounding xenophobia and business ethics, and a bizarre plot that keeps you guessing and sporadically re-realising what the hell you’re watching.

It’s astonishingly easy to forget he’s a koala, as it’s only really mentioned in passing by the human characters and he still manages to be more expressive under the giant koala head than many of the actors whose faces we can actually see. This allows us to be drawn into Minoru Kawasaki’s strange world of bunny bosses and frog shopkeepers, a world best described as American Psycho meets that rabbit sitcom from Inland Empire. 

As funny as anything in the movie (how does a film called Executive Koala “get silly”?), the YouTube comment above is right to point out the rushed and disappointing ending. Ultimately it’s easy to admire Kawasaki’s audacity if not his koality control.

But thanks to all the murder, intrigue, martial arts, giant animal costumes and musical numbers, Executive Koala guarantees there won’t be a bored room in the house. So if you’re looking for a weird evening’s entertainment with friends and/or substances, this film koalifies.

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