A thief, murderer, and charming lady-killer, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) is on the run from the police. Director Shohei Imamura turns this fact-based story, of his seventy-eight-day killing spree into a cold, perverse, and diabolically funny tale of the primitive coexisting with the modern.
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Don't know if a finer movie has been made. Can't think of another that so successfully skirts conventional psychology without committing to it reductively, without sacrificing mystery. The direction is protean and possibly random while maintaining an unwavering focus- a very rare achievement. Imamura knows that he doesn't have to choose between opacity and insight- the truth is between the two poles.
Incredibly beautiful, for a film following a horrific crime spree. Takes more of a poetic stance, with a haunting atmosphere, rather than procedural - as most films of this genre tend to be. There is a brutal serial killer film here, but beyond that there is a very dark sense of humour, and masterful filmmaking that even reminds of softer, more elegant Japanese New Wave films. Unsettling and unique.
What a horrible, disturbing and powerful film. Imamura is very much the best of the bunch when it comes to the Japanese new wave directors and this is one of his very best films. Ogata is chilling. 5/5
The technically stylish takes on real crimes such as Zodiac seem paper thin to this subdued and unsettling take on a real murderer, slowly pulling you into the world of the 'characters', all of them fatally flawed but human, amplified by a fragmented narrative structure that avoids leading you by the hand through a rigid timeline and allowing Imamura to bring in his view on Japan. It confirms for me his talent.
An interesting concept that never really takes off. Slow-going most of the time, it fails to generate any real suspense as a crime thriller. As a character study, it plods along without providing any convincing insight into the main character, or making him interesting.