The Invention Of Dr. Nakamats (2009)
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The title is the clue to this biographical documentary on the eccentric inventor who seems to be most interested in his own fame. Egomaniacal visionary is looked at with distant respect, but a more investigatory approach is needed for a successful film. A curiosity.
At only 57 minutes, "The Invention of Dr. NakaMats" takes an intriguing subject but fails to dig deep enough. Yoshiro Nakamatsu is an octogenarian Japanese inventor with over 4,000 patents. He's a genuine celebrity in his homeland and has a grand lifestyle of limousines and flashy designer suits. His main claim to fame appears to be the floppy disk, but a post-movie background check suggests he may demand more credit than he deserves. He believes the key to his creative process is swimming underwater to the brink of losing consciousness (he brainstorms under the surface on a customized, waterproof notepad), and his inventions incorporate strange ideas that recall the witchy quirks of Wilhelm Reich and his orgone accumulators. Two prominently discussed items are a "Love Jet" spray that's supposed to enhance sexual arousal and a bizarre chair called the Cerebrex that allegedly reduces sleep needs and improves thinking. (It cools the head while warming the feet -- hooray?) Other gizmos include a water-powered vehicle and jumping shoes with elaborate, springy soles. Unfortunately, this already skimpy film wastes time following the doctor's everyday activities when an academic look at his creations would be much more interesting. Nakamatsu -- "NakaMats" is a poorly explained nickname -- is a vain, aloof, domineering personality who seems to intimidate everyone who encounters him. Scenes with his family are telling -- a daughter resists his embrace and the children are scolded for improperly presenting a birthday gift. His facial expression rarely changes and, for decades, he has snapped photos of every meal he eats -- it's the basis of some dubious nutritional study. The dividing line between genius and madness is not clear, but isn't that always the case?
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