Written & Directed By: Sion Sono
Cinematography By: Hideo Yamamoto
Editor: Jun’ichi Ito
Cast: Jun Kunimura, Fumi Nikaido, Shin’ichi Tsutisumi, Hiroki Hasegawa, Gen Hoshino, Tomochika
A renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud.
After watching a few of his films and becoming a fan I have to say this is his lightest film in terms of material. As the story isn’t heavy and more of an outright comedy then any of his films really before. Albeit a dark one.
This is shockingly one of director Sion Sono’s more mainstream efforts. So from there you can imagine his film oeuvre.
He is never less than a continually inventive filmmaker even his disappointing films never lose that quality
Their is also not a heavy emphasis on sex either, he still allows for heavy violence. Though here it feels so ridiculous. It’s hard to take seriously though that doesn’t keep it from having stunning action sequences. That figure more heavily in the third act.
This is a movie best by to spoil, it’s more of an experience, though be warned the film is not for the faint of heart. Most of the lunacy on display in the trailers is only a small taste.
I was quite shocked at how thoroughly and responsibly the filmmaker lays down the build up and stakes for what will eventually come.
Director Sion Sono’s films are an acquired taste usually very wild and all over the place, but good after all this is a man who made a 4/5 hour film LOVE EXPOSURE devoted to a pornographer with a fetish and made it into a coming of age film and to was never boring or slow for it’s whole running time.
His films are like Odyssey’s into themselves a warped fantasy land mice into reality or honing a lift on the underground realities most choose to ignore.
He celebrates his obsessions and frustrations. Showcasing them for all to enjoy or a least watch and react by exposing the audience. A culture known for it’s rules and repression at times.
What I admire about Sion Sono and his films are that he is not afraid to showcase his fetishes and obsessions in his films and use them to create a compelling story and awestruck visuals able to find beauty where other people might see trash. His films don’t do down any kind of middle road.
Here his film feels more personal if only for the film showing a love and appreciation. Not only for cinema, but also filmmaking. He shows his passion for it and or the art of it. The emotions it can make you feel and inspire. Especially while making it also crazy enough to just seem absurd and maddening while sticking to it’s plot.
The film might seem crazy and it gets that way in story but all of it’s points make sense as the film goes along.
When it comes to the films of Sion Sono it feels like he will throw anything and everything into his work including the kitchen sink.
While the films feel all over the place and they can be very graphic there is a strange refinement to his work. A certain focus amongst the chaos. While this is not one of his more refined films. This film feels like something more a little personal at least as far as the filmmaking angle goes in this film.
That is what lies at the heart of this film. For while there is a romantic love story between the gangsters daughter who is used to getting her way the dispatching of her boyfriend early the constant flirting with the other mob boss and finally slowly falling in love with a man she makes she bullies and puts in a unwinable situation that maybe her feelings are from guilt but also maybe being exposed to a guy she isn’t used to and seems to be decent
This theme continues as obviously for the director and his crew cinema is what they love and who they are in love with even if it seems they aren’t loved back and with the seeming wish fulfillment to make this project. They have great power telling dangerous gangsters what to do. They also seem to realize to a degree this is a suicide mission assignment. Though this is their greatest wish. So they fit in with the madness as all seem to be under a certain spell of each other. To make this project come alive even the enemy clans are in it together.
That is the beauty of the film as it seems to express itself in open general terms yet has to do it in it’s own way. It’s own language
You are guaranteed to see something or be presented with something you have never seen before. Which is partly what makes him an exciting filmmaker and is. Looks forward to his films with so much anticipation. His films are all strange but they also are usually different from one another
No matter what the film always manages to surprise you as there are no sacred cows throughout.
The score of what seems like mostly symphony operatic music makes the film seem grander even though it is more small scale.
The film has memorable characters and scenes. All of them essential and in their own way demented yet endearing.
The film even manages to throw curveballs. Such as having a romantic comedy scene is a car amidst the chaos that is humorous and sweet as well as most f the action taking place due to love affairs both positive and negative.
To be honest this film had me after I saw the trailer. Watching that trailer it had me in it’s grip in ecstasy overpowering my senses with organized over the top madness that was on display.
The film also seems like a valentine for all the dreamers who devote their lives to their obsessions. Be it film, music, books etc and what would you do of your life’s dream was accessible but you had to work around certain restrictions or within a dangerous or troubling atmosphere to achieve your vision. It might also feel a little familiar for those who have had the experience of trying to get your project made under certain pressures metaphorically represented here.
This film for all of it’s over abundance to me is like a perfect morsel a nice slice of cake delicious and full.