by on Oct.21, 2010, under Daily Review

For the first half of this movie, you could be mistaken for watching a romance drama, a sweet love story all light and girly but how the tide turns.

I’ve avoided this film. It terrifies me. I once watched it at the cinema and endured horrific visuals whist leaning forward in my cinema seat in a sold out screen. Hot and cold flushes as I sweated through the final half hour. Christ, why would I watch this again? For a film to have such a physical effect on a viewer, it’s obviously doing something right, and of cause, surly this is the reason we watch films, to enjoy the various emotions and live out other lives and experiences.

Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi) loses his wife, his true love. For years he works as a single parent. His close friend has a word, maybe it’s time to move on. 

Coincidentally, they both work in film production and use the ploy of a lead role in a movie as an excuse to audition for a girlfriend. One girl stand out from the rest, she’s quiet, polite and pretty. But after a few dates, Shigeharu begins to suspect he may have a little bunny boiler.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. Truly Takashi Miike’s  masterpiece. It’s impact on a second viewing is as effective as the first, ten years ago. It’s shocking and sincere, a strange balance between innocent and fiend. Eihi Shiina role as Asami the girlfriend is quite a performance, while Ishibashi takes the role as the tormented boyfriend and offers a stunning character. The final half of the film is shocking but walks a very careful path to stay on the believable with Asami just balancing on the edge, her actions show psycho loon, whilst her manner is polite and quiet, cute smiles. It’s this that really works here. We also get a good twist which has been done to death in film but here manages to work with it with perfect results.

The final scene is beautifully executed with Asami’s words from a slumbering scene whilst the viewer watches a Romeo & Juliette-esq albeit slightly carnageified to the extreme, but allows the viewer to question the outcome and reality.

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