Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Ichi the Killer (2001)
Last week I finally got to watch this Takashi Miike film and of course was equal parts horrified and intrigued. This is a film notorious for it's brutal violence, gore, disturbing images and sadomasochism, so of course Ichi the Killer is a cult favorite of many people. Well, it definitely had all the above, and then some!
A yakuza boss goes missing and his protege Kakihara vows to find him and seeks revenge on his kidnappers. Kakihara revels in violence, equating it to love. He is a sadomasochist and throughout the movie we see how extreme he can be, whether he is cutting out part of his own tongue or jabbing long, sharp needles into a yakuza member that hangs suspended by many hooks through his skin. Kakihara loves torture, both giving and receiving it, and we learn later that his missing boss was the only one he truly enjoyed this from.
Kakihara eventually discovers that Ichi, an infamous sadistic killer, has killed his boss. Kakihara awaits the day that he and Ichi will meet, as Ichi may be the only one who can satisfy Kakihara's need for pain. What Kakihara doesn't know is that Ichi is a confused and frightened boyish young man, not the great sadist Kakihara imagines. Ichi is being manipulated by Jijii, who would like to take out as many yakuza gangs as possible, though his motives are a mystery. He utilized Ichi for his fast and brutal slayings, though Ichi always falls into a blubbering mass of tears afterward and must always be persuaded to kill again.
There are many twists and turns in the film, and while sometimes it's hard to keep up with Miike, it's well worth it in the end. His characters, as usual, are interesting and over the top. Black humor is used liberally throughout the film along with strong violence. This film is not for the faint-of-heart, though gorehounds will absolutely eat this up. It is bloody, it is disturbing and it is very uncomfortable to watch some of the scenes. Yet the clever twists and turns and the quick action make for a very entertaining film.
If you haven't already, check this film out if you like Asian cinema with lots of violence!