- Director: Sion Sono.
- Genre: Drama
- Cert: 16
- Details: Japan / 129mins
Sion Sono keeps the madcap wackiness he's known for in this The State Of The Nation address in the wake of the tsunami and the resulting Fakushima nuclear plant disaster. Himizu, Japanese for mole and the kind of quiet life the film's hero hopes for, bristles with unchecked hate, which gives it energy, but it's one of the most irritating films of the year.
Good-looking teenager Sumida (Somentani) has it tough in post-tsunami Japan. His mum is a drunk, a prostitute or both and loser dad only wanders around to the family boat business when he needs someone to slap. The last thing Sumida needs is a stalker but that's what he gets in the half-mad classmate Keiko (Nakaido), who too comes from a dodgy home (mum is currently building a gallows for her in the sitting room). Keiko sees potential in the suicidal Sumida and sets about changing his fortunes for the better in the face of abject poverty.
This is Sion Sono's thinly veiled diatribe on the Japanese government. During dream sequences, the director's camera floats over the areas the tsunami consumed as if to say, 'This is still here. What are you doing about this?' The adults here are cruel, brutal thieves and could care less for those in their charge. The only decent sorts are those who live in tents around Sumida's shack, but it's hard to know if they are crazy or just trying to put a brave face on things.
However, the incessant slapping of faces - Sumida's dad slaps him and local money lender slaps him too; he does get to slap Keiko, though, but she slaps him back - turns Himizu and the barbed metaphors into nothing but an angry two hour episode of Bottom. That's an angry two-hour episode of Bottom that isn't any fun by the way - just in case that piqued your interest. Couple that with shouting – lots and lots of shouting and screaming - and you have a film that really tests the patience. The urging of Sumida/Japan to 'Don't give up' is repeated throughout but if you wish he would so the film would be over and you could go home you're in good company.
Near impossible to get on board with as there's too much of a disconnect between the audience and the characters, who aren't grounded in reality but merely ciphers, Himizu is a failed enterprise.
Review by Gavin Burke | 14:40 | Thursday 14th June 2012 | Movie Review
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