WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? (JIGOKU DE NAZE WARUI)
(director/writer: Sion Sono; cinematographer: Hideo Yamamoto; editor: Junichi Ito; music: Sion Sono; cast: Jun Kunimura (Muto), Tak Sakaguchi (Sasaki),Fumi Nikaidô (Mitsuko Muto), Nanoka Hara (young Mitsuko Muto), Shin’ichi Tsutsumi (Ikegami), Hiroki Hasegawa (Director Hirata), Tomochika ( Shizue), Gen Hoshino (Koji Hashimoto); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: akeshi Suzuki, Takuyuki Matsuno, Sadai Yuji; Drafthouse Films; 2013-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)
“It’s sentimentally absurd, violent, frenetic, trashy, romantic and filled with loud pop music.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Japanese director Sion Sono (“Love Exposure”/”Suicide Club”/”Cold Fish”), a cinema lover, crosses gangsters and movie makers together in this weird blend of comedy and a gore fest–which turns out to be both a satire and homage to film, that veers into Tarantino “Kill Bill” B film turf. The pop culture story is about a real yakuza war between rivals shot by aspiring student filmmakers. It’s sentimentally absurd, violent, frenetic, trashy, romantic and filled with loud pop music. It uses every possible photographic technique-including slo-mo, zoom, and stop-action.
It opens with a little girl, Mitsuko Muto (Nanoka Hara), singing a popular jingle about toothpaste.
What follows is the story of the “Fuck Bombers,” a group of film nerds lead by the naive would-be director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa), a solemn film buff, vowing to make a masterpiece as a work of guerrilla film-making. The other film members include Sasaki (Tak Sakaguchi), the giant lesbian known as the Queen of the Handheld Shot and an overweight man on roller-skates used as a human dolly.
Meanwhile Muto (Jun Kunimura), the boss of one of the warring rival gangs, fights off a bloody ambush by his rival Kitagawa gang. That is, thanks to his wife Shizue (Tomochika) who runs from the kitchen with her chopping knife to kill everyone but the wounded hitman Ikegama (Shinichi Tsutsumi). He’s rescued by Muto’s little toothpaste singing daughter, who digs that the gangster sings her jingle. The bloody fight scandal curtails the toothpaste girl’s acting career, as she was removed from the airwaves by the frightened TV people.
Ten years later Muto’s wife is released from prison and Muto allows Hirata to film a gang war sword fight between his gang and the rival Kitagawa gang. Muto is assured that the now ten years older and hottie former toothpaste girl, played by Fumi Nikaidô, will be the film’s star.
If you can handle so much schlock, you can stuff yourself on this goofy and irreverent anything goes in the movies indie treat.
REVIEWED ON 5/19/2016 GRADE: C+