Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Daisuke Tengan
Based on a story by Ryu Murakami
Cinematography by Hideo Yamamoto
Music by Koji Endo
Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Miyuki Mastuda, Renji Ishibashi, and Jun Junimura
1999/115 mins/Color/Dolby Digital Surround
1.85:1 Anamorphic/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 1
Review from Lionsgate DVD
A middle aged widower (Ryo Ishibashi) has been alone for seven years. Both his teenage son and his friend, who is a film producer, tell him it is time to look for a new wife. His friend gives him the idea of holding auditions, under guise of seeking an actress for a film as way to find new companion. But, only one catches his interest since the very moment he views her headshot: Asami Yamasaki (Eihi Shiina). She is pretty, coy, and talented, but alas, she is also mysterious. And, in the end, dangerously, psychotic…
Takashi Miike’s film has been a hailed as a modern classic, and rightfully so. Sure the film starts real slow and drags, but during that time the movie centers on the theme of loneliness. It feels like a nice relationship film, but yet midway through the film; it changes. You should not allow yourself to be discouraged by the deliberate pace of it, for you will be greatly rewarded at the end. From the minute the change in the film begins (and you will know it, cause it will scare the fucking shit out of you), the movie begins to build up to the last fifteen or so minutes. At which point, the movie, much like one of the villainess’ preferred weapons, tightens more and more around your throat, leaving you gasping for air. Trust me, this is one fucked up movie that will seriously creep you out! It gets under your skin and stays with you well after it is completely over and done with.
Miike’s directing is flawless. Aside, from the aforementioned ability to build up tension and deliver truly horrifying moments, he also has a gorgeous style, which he greatly employs here. I love the film composition that he employs to great effect. The use of space and the overall look and feel of the shots is the marksmanship of a truly artistic master.
The acting is magnificent, especially from the two leads. Ryo Ishibashi plays the most likable, nicest man. You real feel for him as fucked shit begins to happen to him. Meanwhile, Shiina is absolutely amazing in her role. She gives manages to seem to be shy and demure, the almost perfect version of the supposed “submissive” Japanese woman, but then when the character calls for a more psychotic action, she delivers at a fever pitch. But, yet even here, she remains girlish and, dare I say, devilishly cute, making the scenes that much more powerful and nightmarish.
Lionsgate tries out and succeeds with this wonderful release on DVD. Presented in its original 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio, the movie looks simply gorgeous. The colors are rich and beautiful and the sound, in Dolby Digital surround sound, is crisp and sounds perfectly fine.
Despite being only one disc, it is packed with wonderful extras. First off, there is a little intro by the director, himself. It sets up the film, quite well. Miike returns in a truly excellent interview. Here he discusses the origins of the film, as well as the cast, reaction to the film, and other good topics, including his career and style in general.
“Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments Segment” is the clip from the Bravo special of the same name, where this movie’s best scenes are talked about by John Landis, Elli Roth, Rob Zombie, and Linda Morotta. This is one of my favorite extras; as it is great to hear just how this film truly creeped out Landis (to the point where he ended up not liking it) and Zombie. Another extra is an interview with Ryo Murakama, upon whose book this film is based on. It is a rather good talk as he discusses how close the movie is to his book.
Also included is a picture gallery that has stills from the film. I would have loved interviews with the two leads, but this is a minor complaint. What we do get is a an awesome bit of running commentary that runs about fifteen or so minutes through the end of the movie, by Miike, and translated into English. It is a very entertaining and informative bit of talking, as he clarifies much of what is on screen. Most of this I had already figured out on my own, but the discussion is never boring, and real comes off at the right point in the film. Trust me, you don’t need him to talk from the very beginning of the film. All that is needed to be said and explained by him is done so.
While the disc includes trailers for THE EYE 2, PREMONITION, INFECTION, JU-ON, AMERICAN PSYCHO (the special edition DVD), and WAITING; it sadly it does not come with the film’s own trailer. I don’t get that at all.
But, the disc, which comes in a keepcase, is included with a booklet that features a Takashi Miike bio, filmography (up until the year 2005), and liner notes. All are excellently written by Chris D., but I recommend you read them after you watch the film, as it reveals too much of the movie. Unfortunately, it does not mention any chapter listings. But, the disc, itself, is broken up into twenty chapters that can be accessed from the fucking cool as hell active menu.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©
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