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#4. The Invention of Dr. Nakamats - Review

If you were to ask 80-year old Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats if he invented eccentricity he would undoubtedly, and without hesitation, answer with a “yes.” In fact, if there is something out there even a tad bit unconventional or unique, Nakamats either thought it up or is already thinking of a way to evolve it and make it even better. “Better” of course is subjective in this case. For instance, does having a notepad that can be used underwater in fact make it better? With over 3,357 inventions; many similar in approach and convenience as the underwater notepad, or the wig adorned with weights that females can use for self-defense by vigorously swinging their heads at would be attackers, Nakamats has made a name for himself in Japan for being an outspoken advocate of himself.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats PosterAside from his myriad of clever and mostly ridiculous inventions, the Dr. is also a devout misogynist and a genuine egotist. He is affable to the general public, but only when they appear to be as enamored to be in his presence as he is with himself. For the most part the Japanese do seem to at least admire the prolific scientist, but that could also be a mixture of respect and intimidation. He carries a cordial demeanor that just waivers above a mild contempt, but a few choice scenes show the man in what I could only assume is his more natural, contemptible state. For example, in planning his own 80th birthday party he is in negotiations to rent out a floor in an upscale hotel, and modestly desires to have the floor renamed to the “Dr. Yoshiro Nakamats Floor.” When the owner sends one of his subordinates to inform Nakamats that this will not be possible, the Dr. can no longer restrain his true derision for the weak minded that surround him and for a brief moment let’s loose his frustration and anger on the poor helpless messenger. It is an uncomfortable scene, but also in an odd way a relief. Like exhaling a breath that had been held in for too long, Dr. Nakamats’ expulsion of ire is a wonderful look behind the mask (that I am sure he invented). His narcissism has evolved into an expectation that all should share his self-admiration.

This expectation includes director Kaspar Astrup Schroder. The film never pushes Nakamats, never attempts an investigation into the twisted psychology of the man that honestly believes he will live past 140. So many questions are raised and not answered I am surprised The Invention of Dr. Nakamats was not produced and edited by the Dr. himself. Sadly the documentary is self-serving and harmless, further placating a man that has without a doubt earned the right to be diabolically disingenuous.   

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