Guilty Of Romance Reviews
Starts off incredibly well - edgy, very interesting, and doesn't give
much away. The transformation of the author's wife is captivating, and
has many lessons in liberty, self-will, individualism and their
However, the second act is confusing, drags on a bit and the plot is
not entirely water-tight. Some things just seem added in for shock or
The conclusion is good and closes the loop well, though leaving room
for a continuing moral.
Solid performances all round.
I said it in Cold Fish (2010) and I'll say it now: overall, Japanese cinema consists in stimula that cause cognitive dissonance, a psychological response that is unpredictable most of the times. This consists in setting a scenario and contrasting it with something seemingly contradictory, such as a beautiful score against a harrowing background, or splitting the entire product into two separate and different parts. The entire "Hate Trilogy" applied such technique with wonderful precision, and throughout, Sono learned how to develop characters and the situations in which they are placed, so that the gruesome paybacks could escalate tension slowly and mercilessly in an easier way.
On the other hand, the main differentiation between Sono and wanna-be disturbing directors like Friedkin is that he keeps the whole story engaging and interesting to look at; in this way, the entire second act acquires more meaning, and therefore, more shock value. What is so brilliant about Sono is that:
- He adds emotional depth to the story, so you'll need the time to avoid having a heart attack and, once that's done, then you can wrap your head around the final product.
- He uses extreme violence as a perfect complement for psychological horror , which is the main aim of his films. Directors fail because their aim is graphic violence. If there's no substance to behold in the background, it becomes meaningless and is degraded to mere forgettable entertainment.
My only concern with this mutant baby is that it places the murder story as a secondary plot device to unfold what actually is the descent to hell of a woman's morality. It lacks focus. Instead of splitting the movie into three parts, it was divided into two. I wouldn't have minded a three-hour film, given that he has proven himself to be talented (and crazy) enough to compile a 4-hour collage of pieces of contradictory madness. Still, the film offers enough content to asault the senses and enough substance to reflect on.
Based on a real-life murder case, Koi no tsumi is a rare movie to appreciate.
Izumi is a housewife who yearns for her husband's love. In the meantime, she settles for whatever semblance of love she can get: from appreciation for her execution of household chores, to satisfaction at successfully giving sausage samples at the supermarket, to random sex with strangers. As she looks for satisfaction in sex with strangers, she encounters a man/pimp who initially seems benign, but eventually scares her into acknowledging the conflict between her love for her husband and her need to cheat on him with others. Izumi is then introduced by the man to a more experienced hooker who she realizes can help her come to terms with herself.
The hooker is Mitsuko who recognizes Izumi as an earlier iteration of herself. Having been in love with her father, seduced him using his passion for literature, and lost him when he died, Mitsuko understands Izumi's hope for love and where that hope will eventually lead. To hasten Izumi to this realization, Mitsuko teaches Izumi that while searching for her true love/castle, she can have sex with others so long as she makes a distinction between love and lust by asking for money whenever she is having sex without love. Mitsuko then guides Izumi back to the pimp who integrates Izumi into his escort service.
On Izumi's first escort job, Mitsuko goes before Izumi to prime the man for Izumi. Mitsuko recognizes the man and stays to watch Izumi's reaction to having sex with her husband. Izumi finally realizes that her castle is unattainable, her husband will never truly love her as a woman. Just like Mitsuko's father, Izumi's husband never was and never will be able to love Izumi. Mitsuko drags Izumi back to her love apartment and tells Izumi that the only way to achieve true fulfillment, reach the unreachable castle, is probably through death. Mitsuko's mother, bitter at Mitsuko's monopoly of her father's love, happened to follow Mitsuko that afternoon and sees her chance. Mitsuko's mother convinces the pimp and Izumi that the only way for Mitsuko to be relieved of her pain is through death. Izumi kills Mitsuko while the pimp watches on. This might have been Mitsuko's plan all along-- to show someone else her pain in order to force that person to direct their anger at her and kill her.
Eventually, Izumi continues on where Mitsuko left off, having unabashed sex with everyone and acting with brash self confidence, aware that no one can hurt her as much as the realization that she will never achieve her true love has hurt her. The movie ends with a scene of her getting beaten for being too aggressive towards a customer and raises the question of whether she will meet the same end as Mitsuko-- purposely aggravating someone to the point that they kill her.
I like to compare him with David Cronenberg , another director who seems to be fascinated by human anatomy. The camera explores these in great detail at times in many of Sono's movies. Whether he is sensationalizing or not is a matter of individual taste, but for me this is top quality cinema that will throw you out of your chair at times.
Sensationalism apart, Sono's anger is indirectly related to the society that produces such 'aberrations'. One would never imagine a well educated, decent looking, woman next door to indulge in acts even the boldest of women would think twice before doing. Superb acting combined with great background music and an apt setting (Shibuya, Tokyo), this film will make your stomach churn at times but is a treat for genuine cinema lovers.
Who says that women are under-depicted in Japanese cinema? The three ladies in this two and a half hour movie turn in incredible and of course sexciting performances. These women have desires and they are out to fulfill them, better watch out guys!
Story about a woman who slowly becomes unhinged as she gets into nude modeling by chance and then meets a beautiful but also deranged older woman who lures her into prostitution.
There's also a murder mystery here, but it's pretty secondary to the main story which plays out like a nightmare. I seriously started to question what was real and what was imagination here.
Really a good, compelling and original movie which is a little twisted. I could not look away from it. The scene with the friend and her mother at the table is also hilarious. (not sure if it was meant to be, but it tickled me, these two smiling politely while saying awful things about each other). Actually behind that is a really sad story about incest and abuse, but at face value it is funny. Though there's obviously some really tragic stuff here including spouse abuse, it is not really played out that way. More like a cautionary tale about giving in to your dark side. Liked it a lot.