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Gozu (Gokud˘ ky˘fu dai-gekij˘: Gozu) Reviews

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JonathanHutchings
JonathanHutchings

Super Reviewer

January 21, 2012
Watching Gozu reminded me a lot of Eraserhead in that both films nearly abandon plot all together to make way for their respective bizarre scenes and surrealistic atmosphere. But this isn't classical Dali or Bunuel type surrealism, which focused a lot on style and subverting conventions, this is more of the Jorodowsky variety: start with a blank canvas, disregard narrative logic all together, and let your imagination run wild. Gozu may be the most peculiar and surreal film in Miike's canon. If you know anything about his work, that's saying quite a bit.
Ariuza k.
Ariuza k.

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2011
Takashi Miike is a very strange man - I think there's sufficient evidence of that fact that I need not justify it further. So if I tell you that GOZU is probably Miike's weirdest film to date, you will know that we are talking some world-class oddity. Billed as a "Yakuza Horror" film, which is a label that just about fits if you consider that Japanese horror films have always shown a very different sensibility than Hollywood films (Japanese horror is generally of a quite intangible nature, about the horror of the unknown and the incomprehensible - not so much about the big scary monsters). GOZU is interesting in that the "horror" of it comes almost entirely from the way it is filmed - the camera work, the editing and the sound effects all come together to create a sense of foreboding and fear that for the most part is not at all born out by the actual events in the film. Miike is probably making the point that most horror films are just exercises in film-making technique these days, rather than presenting truly frightening content. Or perhaps he just fancied a way to make his latest Yakuza film a little bit different :)

Miike is definitely one of the most creative film-makers working in the world today - quite possibly *the* most, given his insanely prolific output and the fact that almost every film he makes manages to be unique and memorable. Doing that with one film a year would be an impressive feat, and Miike gives us at least 3-4 such films every year. GOZU shows him on fine creative form once more, turning a story that probably isn't all that interesting into a surreal, dreamlike experience. The plot itself is very minimal, and largely irrelevant for most of the 125 minute running time. Basically, a Yakuza is told to take his yakuza-brother (Sho Aikawa) to an out of the way part of Japan and get rid of him, as he been showing signs of going a bit loopy. However, before he can carry out his orders, Aikawa disappears - and most of the rest of the film is concerned with Minami's efforts to find him. But that description really sells short the content of the film, which is really about the strange characters he encounters and the even stranger experiences that he has.

Going into more detail about what happens wouldn't add a lot to this review, so I won't. Just be prepared to "go with the flow" and see what the film has to offer, rather than expecting anything specific from it. Don't expect a nice neat resolution at the end, either, 'cause you'll definitely be disappointed. Miike's films are often films that need to be seen in just the right mood to be enjoyed, and I'm glad I made the decision that my mood wasn't right when I started watching GOZU 6 months ago. The film sat there waiting for me until this weekend, when I figured the time was as good as it was going to get, and it paid off in spades :)

Miike's films often suffer on repeat viewings, and I am pretty sure this will be true of GOZU - at over 2 hours it is definitely too long, and there are sure to be scenes that are a bit of a chore to sit through when you know what's coming. I couldn't say which scenes they are from a first viewing though, so there's nothing that's truly redundant in there, and I hope that the US distributors that recently acquired the film will remember that their viewers would rather make the decision themselves about any scenes that weren't needed. i.e. uncut, please!
366weirdmovies
366weirdmovies

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2010
A conflicted yakuza is ordered by his superiors to dispose of his immediate boss, who's gone insane, but when the body disappears in a strange town outside Nagoya it becomes unclear who's actually the crazy one. One of the better efforts from Miike's weird and perverted phase; calling it the Japanese ERASERHEAD may be going a little far, but it's in the ballpark.
DragonEyeMorrison
DragonEyeMorrison

Super Reviewer

March 13, 2007
Miike shows how skillfull and inventive he can be with Gozu, a bizarre hybrid of horror and yakuza flicks. This is not a "japanese lynch flick" it's a very unique beast that deserves it's own adjectives.
arashxak
arashxak

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2009
A nightmarish joke? or a parody of Lynch-ish movies? , Well not as great as Lynch's multi-layered nightmares but still pretty interesting
Saskia D

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2007
One of the strangest movies I've ever seen, a bit slow sometimes. I liked the dialogue -pretty weird- it requires a special taste haha. It's pretty sick too.
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

February 2, 2008
Builds to a great ending. a bit too obsessed with lactation. This is best described as a surrealistic thriller. As usual, Miike makes a list of extreme activities and mashes them together to make grotesquefest. Not as nasty as Visitor Q. Too slowly paced, but some full characters and obviously fantastic visuals."So Fucked Up" highlightthe conclusion, and the way in which "Soup Ladle Yakuza Boss" dies
Lady D

Super Reviewer

March 23, 2007
Probably the most bizarre film I've ever watched, I had to read the dvd cover to make sense of it all after. With my new found faith in Takashi Miike, I'm gonna put this down to me misunderstanding this, definitely needs further viewings.

VERDICT: Confused!
Kylie B

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2007
I never got to finish watching this, but if I do the rating may change.
neumdaddy
neumdaddy

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2005
*strums guitar*

A mole has burrowed into my lungs, you see
He laughs in cough and speaks in wheeze
He claws out my throat and rations my air
This troublesome mole isn't being very fair

[i]dooo dododooo dododooooot[/i]

A cloud has burrowed into my head, you see
I wobble when it dances and echo when it sings
It blocks my thought and puts walls in my mind
This troublesome cloud isn't being very kind

[i]dooo dododooo dododooooot[/i]

A pirate has burrowed into my nose, you see
He digs for gold boulders so carelessly
He arr's and he yarr's in my snores at night
This troublesome pirate isn't being very right

[i]dooo dododooo dododooooot[/i]
[i]dooo dododooo dododooooot[/i]
[i]doot

[/i]*sleeps*
Joey S

Super Reviewer

June 2, 2013
A surreal trip into the mind of talented Japanese director Takashi Miike, Gozu is bizarre, creepy, and hard to forget. It begins with Minami, a member of the Yakuza, being forced to take his now crazed and paranoid mentor Ozaki far away to be killed. Following an unusual series of events, the two men end up in a town called Nagoya, after which Ozaki mysteriously vanishes from the car and Minami experiences the horrors and oddities of the hellish Nagoya. All the people in coffee shop repeat the same conversation about the weather over and over again, the old woman who owns the local inn not only demonstrates a seemingly sexual interest in Minami but is also proud to show him that she can lactate at will, and best of all there is a cow-man hybrid that gives Minami pornography in the middle of the night before licking his face repeatedly. This may sound like a series of completely strange but arbitrary events, but there is actually a method to Gozu's madness and beneath the strangeness of the plot lies a great deal of symbolism that forms a completely coherent and surprisingly simple story. Given, it's not likely you will catch much of the symbolism on the first viewing because the bizarreness is so entertaining and oftentimes very funny, but it's still nice to know that the things that happen actually do serve a purpose. This is probably a very poor viewing choice for anyone who has never seen a Takashi Miike movie as I imagine the surreal weirdness of it would probably be too much for those people, but if you have seen other Miike movies and you enjoy his eccentricity and sense of humor then Gozu is a worthwhile movie that will have you laughing and cringing on the edge of your seat, often simultaneously.
Sylvester K

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2013
Very surrealistic and I don't even understand what the point of the film really is. Despite not having a plot, it was still quite masterful and intuitive in terms of the filming style. A very strange film to summarize it, very much like Easerhead but less provocative and disturbing.
whosinthenews
whosinthenews

Super Reviewer

September 20, 2009
This is basically a textbook example of a film that's "really hard" to analyze. People either reach too deep for meaning in order to keep up their artistic credibility, or they dismiss the film as garbage because it "doesn't make any sense". So I'm just going to take it for what it is, an abstraction (but not meaningless, mind you). The question however is whether or not this particular abstraction points coherently enough in a general direction as to make it a compelling piece of film art, because it surely isn't entertainment for the masses.
On the whole I think Gozu works as an extremely indirect way of dealing with homosexual repression, incorporating imagery and symbolism as the externalization of inner turmoil. But, this film also takes narrative leaps that are often too much to keep the viewer on a steady subconscious reading. There are definitely moments where we lose simpatico with whatever the director is trying to say. For example, the search for Ozaki leaps uninterrupted to the discovery that he has been "compressed" into a woman. Without a link the audience is lost on both a conventional narrative AND abstract level.
blah, blah, blah, anyway, good stuff.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2007
Or David Lynch goes to Japanese hell. Lots of metaphor and references to Japanese mythology.
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2007
Miike's Lynchian film is a slower, meditative film with spurts of insanity. Great performances from all cast members and excellent direction from Miike.
August 1, 2009
Wow, what a bizarre film...a surreal trip. I enjoyed this one, although i was never quite sure what was going on! If you enjoy films like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Lost Highway", you might enjoy this one too...after reading more about the film and Miike's "imagery" and "allusions", it's definitely worth another watch...
iamthethinman
June 9, 2011
I am well initiated into the Miike universe. And with that, I can honestly say that this movie bothered me more than Ichii. But, I've been warned about Visitor Q and haven't seen it yet. This movie has more unforgettable images and scenes than than others he has made, but more so just pieces things together in an even more macabre way.

This will have spoilers..many of which you may not believe are really in a movie.

I get the cow head idea and how it related to many parts, even the ladle up the butt. But it's a jarring image for someone in their tighty-whities. Too much breast feeding by older people, yes but I can vaguely understand the context. Main character as a woman talking too much about a penis, understand the context - kinda. But how it relates to the end scene considering that she is around at the end, not sure. That's kind of what I mean about the jarring images getting in the way of real story telling. I understand it was supposed to be about bizarrely surreal story that only connect in a "journey" story, but it could have pieced it together a little better even with just emotional ties.

It is a well made movie, and that's why it goes up to 2 stars. But simple things like when Minami believes he can hear voices in the woman's private area and he lists her nightgown up, that area is covered by the rolled up blanket. Later, the camera meanders in and you see that area anyway. It makes you wonder what kind of mood he was trying to set. As with the end sequence when it was probably more disturbing for the actress than the audience. However, I take it more to be like the dog scene in the beginning, we're seeing the story from a safe inside, not really believing what's happening outside the window.
annubis44
October 15, 2009
This surreal, adbsurdist, nightmare/comedy from director Takashi Miike can only be described as Miike does Lynch, a fact Miike himself admits to freely. At turns both freaky, and hilarious, Miike manages to craft a superb cinematic dreamscape featuring many yakuza genre stalwarts. The film is sublimely fucked up from beginning to end, and one of Miike's best.
RicC
June 10, 2009
A little more condensed and it would've been perfect because the pace drags when Yakuza members converse. But this is the world I want to live in. Demented sexuality, oneiric surrealism. Rebirth, lactation, Miike is God.
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