Directed by Miike Takashi, this Japanese film (released in 2000) starts off unlike the rest of Miike's work - it's a romantic comedy. Now, if you've seen other films by Miike Takashi, you usually know what to expect - extreme violence, gore, and explicit sex.
However, this story of a lonely middle-aged man, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) who meets up with the perfect woman, Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina), is nothing like the usual. Aoyama is the widowed owner of a video-production company and, at the behest of his partner, Yoshikawa, decides to hold an audition for the female lead of a movie, in the hopes that he will find a new wife. Asami shows up dressed demurely and seems like a quiet and smart woman who was trained in ballet - perfect for Aoyama.
Asami seems pleased with the attention that she is getting from Aoyama and even accepts his explanation that the project has been cancelled. Yoshikawa becomes suspicious of Asami but Aoyama refuses to listen. The two go away for a romantic weekend by the sea, Aoyama proposes, they have sex, and then Asami promptly disappears.
Sounds like a good date movie? Well, that's just the first 45 minutes. After that, it becomes a totally different film - in fact, it becomes your standard Miike film.
Without ruining the rest of the story for you, let's just say that Asami's past becomes clear and the mayhem begins. We're talking serious mayhem. In fact, I can't stress this enough - it's very brutal.
Miike mixes up styles that pay homage to Dario Argento and Alfred Hitchcock. Which is to say that not only will he out-do the gore/shock factor like Argento but he will also keep up the suspense factor like Hitchcock. Strange combination, indeed, but it works well in this film. So, with DIY needle torture, you will also be freaked out by something as simple as a bedsheet snapping in the wind. And what the hell is moving in that canvas bag at Asami's apartment? Watch the film and find out.
Directed by Miike Takashi
- Shigeharu Aoyama
- Asami Yamazaki
- Yasuhisa Yoshikawa
Producers - Akemi Suyama and Satoshi Hukushima
Executive Producer - Toyoyuki Yokohama
Screenplay - Daisuke Tengan; based on a story by Ryu Murakami
Cinematographer - Hideo Yamamoto
Editor - Yasushi Shimamura
Music - Koji Endo
Production Designer - Tatsuo Ozeki
In Japanese with English subtitles
Running time 1 hour, 55 minutes
"Kiri Kiri Kiri"