Amoeblog

Retribution 叫 sakebi (2006) dir. by 黒沢 清 Kurosawa Kiyoshi -- Touching From a Distance

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 2, 2008 09:33pm | Post a Comment
 

A grizzled police detective named Yoshioka investigates a murder in a muddy waterfront in Tokyo. The victim, although drowned in a puddle, has lungs full of saltwater. As Yoshioka investigates, all of the clues all seem to point to the him.  In the process, he grows more unhinged and defensive whilst troublingly remaining unable to write himself off as a suspect. His violent, murky memories seem to implicate him as well, and he suffers from insomnia and possible hallucinations.


Soon afterward, more killings occur with the same under similar circumstances. Yet they're easily explained and, in doing so, fail to exonerate Yoshioka in the first case. Kurosawa uses twists and turns not merely to keep the audience guessing about the true nature of the crime, but also to take the viewer somewhere unexpected-- into a feeling of loneliness and a state of guilt about ignoring the plight of others because of our collective societal embrace of insensitivity and deliberate emotional isolation.


Although the cover of Lion's Gate's DVD suggests that the film is merely another "scary hair" ghost story (and in some ways it is), it's mainly an atmospheric mood piece that has more in common with Antonioni and his ilk than horror directors. The title, Sakebi, literally means "Scream," which makes a lot more sense than the English translation of "Retribution," which seems chosen to mislead potential viewers into more false expectations. Anyone expecting horrifying vengeful ghosts will likely be disappointed by the glacially paced and contemplative film, although there are (mostly startling) moments of horror.

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marking the beginning of a new venture -- or, my first post

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 26, 2007 11:49am | Post a Comment
I finally got around to watching the most recent 北野 武 Takeshi Kitano dvd the other night-- 2005's  Takeshis' ...

It concerns an established actor, Beat Takeshi, and his crossing paths with a struggling actor, Takeshi Kitano. A significant number of the cast play dual roles, which I was embarrassingly slow to comprehend, given the fairly confusing abstractions within film. As Beat Takeshi, Kitano plays himself as boorish and self-important and satirizes his own artistic conventions to comic effect. In his film-within-a-film, he plays a bandaged yakuza character. Annoyed by cicadas at his Okinawan hideaway, his character "unexpectedly" shoots his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

The second half of the film grows even less conventional. Sometimes it just seemed strange for the sake of being strange. It moved toward abstraction like David Lynch's last few films have, as if to bait the deluded fans into comparing their own narrative reconstructions. I started to lose a bit of interest at that point since that kind of "artistic innovation" became pretty cliché long before my parents even met.
One ingredient I quickly realized was possibly detracting from my enjoyment was the absence of longtime musical collaborator Joe Hishaishi (or, Hisaishi Joe, Mamoru Fujisawa's Nipponized version of "Quincy Jones"), whose moody, jazz and Japanese-influenced scores have always contributed to the tone of Kitano's previous films so complimentarily. I guess Takeshi Kitano and Joe Hisaishi got into it on the set of the amazing Dolls a few years back and lamentably ended their artistic arrangement. Apparently, Kitano saw Hisaishi walking in the rain with Hayao Miyazaki.

 


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