Killers (キラーズ, Kirazu): a serial killer who uploads his work to a ‘DeathTube‘ site inspires an everyman to go vigilante. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve seen directors harness everything down to the distributors & funders logos to add to the film’s aesthetic; and with this level of detail from the get go, the film is technically admirable – sound, editing, camerawork etc. The opening 5 minutes really set the mood, with a shocking and ultra-graphic murder: the violence slowly escalates and darkens as the runtime progresses. Unlike The Raid‘s gritty-but-styalised – and even poetic – gore, this film is just plain gritty. One killer is a savvy psychopath fit for Dexter, the other is an everyman pushed over the edge, Falling Down style. Another unique aspect is that it’s a collaborative effort from two directors (The Mo Brothers – not real brothers), filmed in two locations – Japan and Indonesia – with English spoken parts when the two leads interact; it doesn’t hinder the film’s international appeal, although something feels lost in translation story-wise. At 140 minutes it does lose feel rather long-winded and intricate for what is essentially a serial killer movie with a disjointed story and not much in the way of themes or messages. If you like your gore gory, and your films stylish this ticks both boxes – although not a lot else. The main stars of Killers are the directors, who with more focus (shorter runtime and tighter story) could pose a serious threat to Gareth Evans as the king of contemporary Indonesian action.
8mm: A private investigator is hired to authenticate or debunk a snuff film found by an eccentric millionaire’s widow. The headline here is a shocking display of anti-acting by Cage – could easily be in his bottom 5 performances (and that’s saying something) – totally woeful – especially when he loses his shit near the end Gandalfini steals the show with his ‘here’s what happened’ scene, and Phoenix plays a stereotype deviant well enough. So you’re thinking ‘Cage is rubbish, but at least the story’s alright…’ then the last hour happens. What the shit is the end of this film about; why does some guy have a crossbow? Why is Cage going vigilante? Why burn a stack of Porn? Rainy Mud fight? DANZIG?… everything is turned up to 11, or 20. It reeks of all the good 90s thrillers, but feels like a TV movie. 8mm is one of those films that everyone remembers being decent, but when replayed, is absolutely terrible. While the subject matter is intriguing, this film’s far too bizarre for most people to enjoy. Would recommend Tesis and Hardcore over this. Shame on Schu-macher!
Hardcore: when his daughter disappears on a school trip a successful businessman does what he can to find her. Can’t remember the last time I saw a film go from one extreme to the other; opening with smug church folk at Christmas and finishing in a seedy world of snuff, prostitution and worse. The main (George C Scott) is superb as a moral father,hulking out, realistically kicking ass, and doing whatever he can to find his daughter – Peter Boyle (a.k.a. Young Frankenstein) also nails his role as a perverted detective. Despite being +30 years old this is still relevant and hasn’t aged a bit (beyond the flares) – so much so that Taken is just an updated re-make. While it’s quite an ugly film, and not the easiest to watch, the focus on a powerful story make this too easy to relate with. It also opens the viewer’s eyes a bit to the world of prostitution, how it was – and probably still is – run, where the money goes, what makes the business tick etc. Definitely a (genital) warts and all depiction of the down and outs in the sex industry. The writer/director did the screenplay for Taxi Driver, and it’s quite similar territory. It’s a great film, powerful story, superb acting by the leads and totally underrated / overlooked. The original Taken / 8MM.