Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jigoku de naze warui review

Ok. Wtf did I just watch? Its going to take a while to digest everything as I ride on the Yamanote line back. Back to the beginning. There are only a few cinemas showing Jigoku de naze warui? and the only there's only one show per day at Shinjuku's Wald 9 where I saw Berserk last time.

Spent whole afternoon in Shinjuku pushing quarters and not once did I think of buying tickets early. Note to self, one show a day equals certainty of being sold out one hour before. Ggrr.

Got my ticket for tonight which thank the jmovie gods is slightly earlier so I didn't have to rush for the last train. Besides having only one screening there was a noticeable lack of promotion. Not one single movie poster at all. Wtf. Is Sono Sion so unpopular in his own country when he is critically acclaimed overseas and good actors want to work with him?

Jigoku de naze warui starts off slow setting up the story. You've got two rival gangsters anf their bit of history and this motley movie making crew led by this mad dreamer director wannabe played by Suzuki sensei who redeems his acting credentials after Mita and that stupid doctor dorama.

I didn't mind the low start cause the build up led to the great middle part where all the characters start getting together for the bloody finale and there are a lot of characters.

There are multiple layers to this movie. On the surface, there's Suzuki sensei's director character who pursues his dream with religious single mindedness. Perhaps a reflection of Sono Sion when the director proclaimed he would never compromise his vision.

Underneath that, the movie plays like Sono Sion's own love letter to movies. From the Bruce Lee action star wannabee played by the dude from versus which is a great casting decision to the Battle without honour and humanity theme with the title to the Kill Bill-ish ending and Kill Bill was basically a homage to Tarantino's movies.

Underneath that is an element of fourth wall breaking unreality. It is as if the movie were aware of itself. I feel like every comment the director character makes about movies is about the very movie he is in.

I loved the movie until the end when everything stops making sense and I became aware of what I think Sono Sion is trying to say. Making movies is hell. People would die figuratively in real life and unreally in the movie. The movie's story became so irrelevant that at the final scene I was thinking poor Suzuki sensei and how many scenea did he have to do and then we the fourth wall gets shattered.

I appreciate what Sion Sono is trying to do here but he sacrificed story for message. I guess one could argue the message is the story and the story was more about the why the people who make movies do what they do.

Probably the thing I dislike the most is the CG blood. There's a lot of non CG blood but goddamit CG blood never works. Tsutsumu Shinichi is awesome as the head of one of the yakuza gangs. One finale dislike is don't those movie  cameras can shoot 10 minutes of film?

I was so ready to declare it a must watch two thirds through and then everything goes to hell, just like making movies. Could have been the definitive Sono Sion film but I don't think anyone would not have fun watching this. Watcheable and be prepared to have a jingle stuck in your head. I ill rewatch if English subs come out.

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