Cinema-Scene.com > Volume 6 > Number 22

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Director:
Takashi Miike

Starring:
Hideki Sone
ShŰ Aikawa
Kimika Yoshino
ShŰhei Hino

Release: N/A
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Gozu

BY: DAVID PERRY

Takashi Miike isnít known for being restrained, which is part of why his films are instantly recognizable but certainly unlike anything else heís done. Sure, there are elements that reappear between films, like in-jokes for the truly devoted (considering that he makes as many as 9 films a year, they must be really devoted), but the incision he makes through the absurdist worlds he creates has the thrust of a purveyor entering this wonderland for the first time. While I was ambivalent to Audition, unwilling to accept its pseudo-artistic posturing, Iíve since found highlights in his oeuvre, which seem to come in more gratifying packages when purely bizarre.

Gozu might not quite be Dada, but itís getting there. For those who felts Cabin Fever was one of the first truly original horror films in years, this is the Japanese cringe film equivalent. Its absurdist turns couldnít be more refreshing because their inspiration seems so intrinsically meaningless. Though not at David Lynch levels, Miikeís artistry is in his willingness to do the least thing anyone would expect. Even if Ichi the Killer gets credit for its pain-inducing moments, its impact was deeply lessened by the simultaneous revival of Battle Royale, a far more restrained and meaningful production. But Miike, for better or worse, isnít quite interested in recreating that which worked in the Kenji Fukasaku masterpiece in style or substance.

Heís more intoxicated on what he shouldnít do, presenting animistic purgatories in which a dead yakuza disappears only to materialize inside a woman falling in love with his old partner. The lack of explanation is half the fun -- like piecing through the myriad schemes Lynch posits in his best work, Gozu is a mystery tour of one man debased little imagination in which we are left to reconfigure our own recognition of realty, or perish in his midst
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©2004, David Perry, Cinema-Scene.com, 28 May 2004