I am at a loss—again, this director has blown me away. First, I must warn you: this film is not for everyone. The plot alone is enough to turn most people away: there is sex, incest, gore, disturbing images and more. Yet, those who manage to stay till the end will find it’s a thought-provoking, thrilling, horrifying movie. If you’re looking for some kind of film to weigh it against, Old Boy is the first thing that comes to mind.
The acting in this was, to put it simply, brilliant. This is the type of movie where the actors are forced to go through the entire spectrum when it comes to portraying a character: Iseei Ishida was amazing as Yuji. I can just imagine how nervous the writer must have been while penning this—they would’ve needed someone spectacular to bring to life such a complex character—same goes for Masumi Miyazaki. Somehow every actor in this film pulled it off. I wonder if any of them won any awards for this, or if it was too shocking to garner that kind of attention. How the girl playing young Mitsuko pulled it off… I’ll never know. I hope it didn’t scar her! I’d never let my kid play that kind of role, no matter who the director was!
One other thing though: the concept of reality in this movie is extremely blurred. It's hard to distinguish what's real and what's not… and to be honest, I don’t think we’re supposed to know. I think that's one of the uses for the circus--the show the internal minds of the characters, through a warped and twisted glass. The use of the circus really was genius; as was the use of guillotines.
When you get down to it, most people would consider this movie sick and twisted. Brilliant, yes… but it’s also hard to watch. I don’t think I could bring myself to watch it again. It’s hard to deny though, that this is a work of art.
Also, I’m starting to suspect that Sono Sion is incapable of making a bad movie. But now, I need me some romantic fluff. Looks like I’ll be leaning towards a nice Korean romantic comedy next. I’ve earned a break from the nasty, disturbing, thought-provoking films. I need something that will allow my mind and stomach to rest. ;)