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Friday, April 26, 2013

Fukushu Suru Wa Ware Ni An (aka Vengeance Is Mine) (1979)

After a serial killer (Ken Ogata) is caught, in a series of flashbacks we see the story of his 78 days on the run from the first murder to his eventual arrest. Shohei Imamura's brilliant, chilly look at an abnormal homicidal mindset is one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. Imamura is dispassionate to the extreme, never tipping his hand or our sympathies, leaving us distanced and filling the film with so many perverse and twisted characters that the murderer seems the only honest person in the movie. We never discover the why of his killing spree, it just seems impulsive and he shows no remorse. But his father (Rentaro Mikuni) pimps out his daughter in law (Mitsuko Baisho) the killer's wife and later, the father and daughter in law torture and kill a dog, the ex-con mother (Nijiko Kiyokawa), who's also a voyeur, of an inn keeper calmly watches her daughter (Mayumi Ogawa) being raped. Surely a testament's to Imamura's talents that he's able to hold us in in thrall in spite of (or because of?) these repulsive characters. Grisly and cruel, it's not a pleasant film to sit through but there's no contravening its power. Loosely based on a true story of the serial killer, Akira Nishiguci.

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