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Director:  Takashi Miike
Year Released:  2003
Rating:  2.0

Miike's probably the gutsiest living filmmaker, concocting overlong visual experiments, some successful, some not - you have to endure those 'contract jobs' to get to the gems (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q). I don't know if he's burned out, or just working on 'another plane,' but now he's starting to reference and heavily reuse himself, from the anal fixation (one gangster can't get erect without a soup ladle jammed in his ass) to lactating women (from Visitor Q) and naturally, the Cronenbergian sexual paranoia (Audition). I think the problem in this film's case is that there's actually too much: with better editing, a shorter middle section, and a clarified 'message' (I suspect it's got something to do with sexual fears, but that point is lost in the shuffle) it could have built up to the out-of-nowhere ending and been as effective as Audition. Miike may be a bona-fide mad genius (I'm not ruling that out), so consumed with his own strange fantasies that he can't tell 'good' cinema from 'bad' cinema, but I'm not sure - this is, sadly, a miss, but I will continue to seek out his future pictures with great delight.

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