United Red Army

Director: Kōji Wakamatsu
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 2.0

Wakamatsu's depiction of the formation of the student-led, Communist United Red Army in late 60's Japan is both detailed (in parts) and somehow cursory, as whole chunks of this movie (even in its lengthy 3 hour version) seem to consist of quick snippets of twenty year olds (that we, the audience, barely get to know) dying "for the cause." I'm not sure what Wakamatsu intended to say with this movie - it's been noted that he was actually involved with the movement himself - but what I personally took from it is that a lot of these Kids (and they are just that: kids) were misguided and frankly stupid, and that their biggest threat wasn't exactly the Japanese government or the police, but each other: the word "united" in the title acts as a kind of joke. The final act consists of a bracing stand-off in a house between some of the surviving members of the "Army" and the police - it's excellent filmmaking, but it's also hard to sympathize with domestic terrorists who don't really have much of a game-plan or life experience to properly lead a revolution.