Monday, December 05, 2011

Jmovie review: Guilty of Romance/Koi no Tsumi

Sono Sion is turning out to be my favourite Japanese director ever since his incredible Love Exposure. What's more amazing is that he writes his movies and unlike Miike Takeshi, the quality of his movies is always consistently good. Guilty of Romance starts of with Mizuno Miki as a cop who gets called into a murder crime scene. A woman has been murders and her parts have been joined to two mannequins. Do not eat when watching this movie.

Mizuno Miki may get top billing in this movie because of her name but her role is very limited. The movie goes back in time and introduces the audience to Izumi (Kagurazaka Megumi) a housewife married to a famous novelist. They have a very sterile and shallow relationship. Izumi's husband wakes up everyday at 7 to go to work and comes back at exactly 9 every night and they never eat together. Izumi is expected to line up his slippers neatly next to his bed when he wakes up and in front of the door when he returns home. She has to makes his coffee just right and but his specific brand of soap.

Its pretty much a staid maid/master relationship where no conversation of importance happens. Izumi has trouble sleeping, feeling something is missing and needing to do something starts working at a supermarket. She has no confidence in herself and has trouble drawing the attention of shoppers when she meets this woman who offers her a modeling job which turns out to be an AV shoot.

I won't spoil the rest of the story but suffice to say there is a lot of Sono Sion character development, sex, weird scenes and beautiful and slow climaxes (literally and figuratively) set to beautiful music. Unlike Cold Fish which was a hybrid of Korean style dark humour murder movie, Guilty of Romance is more like a companion piece to Love Exposure. We get to see the movie from two characters' point of view and then it all comes together for the end. Well, two and a half characters if you include Izumi's husband where is character traits and history is more implied.

There is even a scene reminiscent of the beach scene in Love Exposure where Mitsushima Hikari goes on a long bible quote. Similarly with Love Exposure and Cold Fish, Guilty of Romance deals with oppression but in this one its oppression of living lives where words don't really mean anything. The movie can feel like a retread but goddamit, only Sono Sion can make it so fun. The movie also delves into duality of lives but to so more would spoil the movie.

Guilty of Romance is not the masterpiece that is Love Exposure but its a pretty awesome companion movie that makes me wonder whether Sono Sion sees them as related. Definitely a movie not to be missed.


Anonymous said...

i have this one in my hard drive. i better check this one out hoping to see miki mizuno's latest.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I liked Love Exposure, but Sono's recent movies just repulse me. I'm sick of movies that are supposed to be taken very seriously just because they're full of violence, sex and shocking spectacle.

Akiramike said...

JC, are you sick of the content or how it is presented?

maiku said...

Agreed. I'm getting ready to watch Sono's Hazard because it looks a little less over the top.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

Both. I generally don't care for movies that graphically trawl the most melodramatic gutters of human existence. Usually they have nothing important or new to say, and/or the director is so comically inept that he can't express his themes without extreme violence (Irreversible and A Serbian Film are great examples). Watching those movies is usually like going to the dentist, only worse.

Of course I haven't seen Guilty of Romance, and don't know how closely it fits the type. But it just seems like one of those movies.

Akiramike said...

I didn't really get Irreversible but I could tell what the story was trying to say. I would even argue that the extreme violence was necessary to juxtapose the ending of the movie which was the beginning of the story.

Guilty of Romance is much closer to Love Exposure than movies with sex and violence just for the sake of sex and violence.