Gozu: a mid-level Yakuza loses his crazy, narcoleptic, undead boss then sets out to find him. It opens with a memorable scene involving a dog but nosedives into nonsense shortly after. All but one of the characters are totally ridiculous and/or perverted, and a the basic story was just to facilitate more ‘wackiness’. The dark humour doesn’t work, it’s obviously supposed to be funny but something gets lost in translation. It’s typical Takashi: dry, minimal style and dialogue. His movies seem to be either hit-or-miss, for me this is definitely one of the misses but if you’re a fan it may be worth checking out. Although there are a few notorious scenes, the rest of the film doesn’t justify sitting through 130 minutes of Gozu. Released in the UK when Japanese cinema was trendy I think it’s unfair of distributors like Tartan (Asia Extreme) to endorse films where the native themes, values, humour and symbolism just don’t export well; if anything this will probably put people off foreign Cinema.
Just curious, what are some Miike films you do like? Audition is one of my favorites.
I didn’t really enjoy Gozu, but I did get a kick out of the ending, just for sheer shock value.
Can’t say I totally love any of his films, although I have a few in my ‘to watch’ pile. I remember his early yakuza films (City of Lost Souls / Dead or Alive etc) being OK and Ichi’s pretty good too. ‘Happiness of the Katakuris’ is the only one I’ve properly enjoyed so far, but it’s still royally screwed up.
From what I’ve seen I can’t help but think he’s over-rated given that he’s released so many movies and never really scored a major hit. Would probably file him under ‘Cult’ over ‘Great’!
I’m torn on Miike… I’ve seen Audition and Ichi The Killer but wasn’t as enamored with them as everyone else. They are disturbing to the point of forsaking the storyline at times it seems.