Sometimes an actor or actress shows up in the middle of a movie and galvanizes it, erupting (or disrupting) like a volcano, eclipsing every other player onscreen. Makoto Togashi, as the pervertedly deranged Mistuko, does the deed here, and it's glorious.
A vision of merciless counter-romantic despair. Totally of our time. Not irony-free but for Sion this is as close as it's gonna get to irony-free. A film of "body." A film beyond "body." A consolation for those who have been victimized yet refuse to be "victims."
In spite the fact that Sion Sono briefly opens some quite profound and interesting topics, he alas fully focuses on surfing the cliches about alleged Japanese sexual misconduct, quasi shocking circumstances and superficial poetics. He crams all this into the frame of a murder investigation, that again, can not contribute anything to the topic of a frustrated housewives fall. Attention whoring.
Some interesting elements but it didn't add up to the sum of its parts. Sono didn't really seem to know what to do with the story, it didn't work as a murder mystery, it didn't work as a Kafka styled existential crisis, and it most certainly did not work on the good girl gone bad level. Reading "The Castle", and watching "Belle De Jour" are much better experiences than this film.
Sono re-cut this film after showing it at Cannes and sidelined the murder mystery strand of his plot, focusing instead on the two main characters: a demure housewife with a less wholesome side to her personality who encounters a literature professor/nymphomaniac prostitute. Plentiful scenes of perversion ensue in what turns out to be a twisted study of dark sexuality. My high hopes for this movie were not misplaced..
This is definitely the most challenging film in Sono's 'Hate Trilogy'. I've heard many people comparing it to 'Cold Fish', but for me it harkens back to the psycho-sexual lunacy that was 'Strange Circus'. Both films offer up scabrous attacks on a patriarchal society that is inherently misogynistic & hypocritical.
The last film in Sion Sono's so-called 'Hate Trilogy' is arguably the weakest - but it's Sono, so it's still pretty brilliant. In this haunting and gorgeously-lit film, a repressed housewife falls down a Lynchean rabbit hole into a world of sex and depravity. She soon learns that love and the fulfillment of one's desires are often mutually exclusive - and the pursuit of either can lead to self-destruction.
The 'hate' trilogy has come to an end with this piece. For me, Coldfish was the best among the 3 films and the average 144 min length suited that one best. Sono also found there the perfect (horror-black comedy) balance. Here in 'Guilty of Romance' the two female leads brings an unforgettable performance but the story and the motivations failed to untie. Maybe the japanese cut will explain more.
Sono's films are entertaining enough and have some interesting things going on narratively and technically, but they are not essential, although he seems content cranking out 2 or 3 melodramatic sexually infused films a year in his quest to become the Asian Fassbinder.