Tetsuo: The Ironman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tetsuo: The Ironman Reviews

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½ April 4, 2017
Compared to other movies I've seen which I've either strongly liked or strongly disliked, my experience with this one was pretty peculiar. I can't say that I wish I didn't see the film. I also can't say that it was a waste of time seeing this. However, I also can't see myself recommending it to my friends anytime soon or re-watching it again.

After a businessman hits someone who recently inserted a rusty, metal rod into their leg, metal slowly starts to pop up on his body as he begins to mutate into a massive chunk of metal.

When the film first opens up, you get a couple minutes of quiet and calm pacing showing someone walking down an alleyway. Make sure you enjoy those couple minutes while you have them because the film doesn't give you much time before it quickly turns into a non-stop, frantically paced film with realistic and gory visuals which follows those couple quiet minutes. This film is incredibly fast-paced and it doesn't have any quiet and calm moments after the opening where you can catch your breath. The film is so determined with keeping this pacing that even the credits scene doesn't give you time to relax. I actually really liked its pacing because it made it stand out from pretty much all other films I've ever seen before. It gave the horror genre a great feeling of originality.

Speaking of fast-pacing, it also has grotesque visuals and effects to accelerate the film. They look realistic, and it can be a visual train wreck to see metal combine with flesh. The gore in this film is a horror movie fans dream. However, the biggest reason why I think that the visuals work so good is because of the stop motion that many parts of the film has. Considering that its shot in black and white, the stop motion gives it sort of an old, classic feeling. On top of that, seeing the stop motion in some of the scenes made me question why stop motion isn't used much more often in horror films. I feel like it works very good, and it would provide a massive feeling of originality if more films used it. Horror film directors should replace cgi with stop motion practical effects.

With all that being said, this film succeeds exceptionally well on visual and technical levels. However, director Shinya Tsukamoto puts so much effort into being a perfectionist in these aspects that he doesn't leave room for anything else besides violence and gore.

When I was getting to the end of the film, I kept on asking questions like "When are they going to focus on developing the characters?" and "Why is this whole film treated like its one big action packed climax?". Since character development is so minimal, I did not feel any emotional attachment to the characters, and they just seem like empty shells fighting for their lives. Its great that Tsukamoto was trying to make this film succeed visually and technically. However, as a result of doing this, he, in turn, had to sacrifice character development and depth to keep the outstanding visuals and frantic pacing.

Another issue I have with it is that it can be occasionally hard to follow at times. It often jumps from one scene to another so quickly that it can be difficult to tell where the next scene starts and what is happening in it. The most confusing scene is the dream sequence. It made no hints that a dream was going on, and I had no idea that what I saw was a dream until I looked it up online after watching the film. The issue with Tsukamoto's directing is that he assumes you'll be able to figure out what's going on. There were some scenes where I was able to figure out what happened with little to no problem, there were some scenes where it took me a little while to figure out what happened, and there were some scenes like the dream sequence which were so hard to follow that I had to look up its plot in order to understand what happened. There were also a couple scenes which felt completely out of place such as the sex scenes. If your body is mutating into metal, you're not having sex with your girlfriend. You should be frantically trying to do something about it. Also, the film kept on cutting to something which looked to be a sex tape several times. I have no idea what the point of including that was, and I also had no idea what it had to do with the film.

In conclusion, I had very mixed reactions to this. While many style over substance films would be dismissed as garbage, this one made its visual aspect so good that it felt like one of the more original horror films in years. Tsukamoto's directing choices helped it to be much better than what it would've been if the visual aspect had been less impressive. Unfortunately, the visual aspect was not enough to distract me from the lack of character development, and it was also a bit hard to follow at times. I feel like there were 2 ways Tsukamoto could've gone about to creating this. The 1st way was to make it like this. The 2nd way was to sacrifice the originality aspect such as the frantic pacing in order to focus more time at developing the characters. I don't know which choice I would've picked, but I can at least give the film a lot of credit for achieving near perfection in the visual aspect, even if the result was style over substance.
January 12, 2017
There is something stylistic to learn in this at-times-self-indulging surrealistic curio.
½ June 3, 2016
High octane, adrenaline filled, insane, surreal, fast, amazing, fantastic, brutal, super hyper cocktail of craziness.
April 12, 2016
Wacky in all ways a Japanese born horror/psychoanalytical mindfuckery of a movie could be. Tetsuo: The Iron Man is creative and technically impressive for it's time but even the short run-time can be a slog due to headaches and nausea.
February 2, 2016
Some guy self operate a pice of scrap metal inside himself. He likes it, needs it or hate it. I'm not sure, really. What I do know is that this operation develops to something bigger - he is slowly transforming into some sort of metal man.

We get loads and loads of wonderful weirdness. Scenes where our main guy is drilling with his metal penis. Scenes with brutal cutting with things like pop-dancing girls and shape shifting. Blood, metallic rocket skates, boiling organs, cats. Everything.

This is without a doubt not a film for everyone. It's pretty graphic, it's very weird and it looks fantastic - especially when the super limited budget is revealed.
Very good and effective stop motion is used a lot. Screams, scene clippings, music and the black and white tone is setting the right mood. The far out mood.

Shin'ya Tsukamoto's film is a a little classic. It's known as experimental sci-fi horror and among the best. It's got a touch of "Eraserhead" and some Cronenberg stuff. It's graphic and driven by little dialogue. It's not needed. When we get some words uttered it's mostly funny stuff - like the rest of the film.
Not directly scary, but still nightmare'ish. Trippy and surrealistic piece - like no other film. This is a cool shocker that you will love or hate.

8 out of 10 original piercings.
½ January 7, 2016
More style than substance, this film is definitely worth a look for any fan of experimental film. Tsukamoto tells a simple story strung over frenetic visuals and driving industrial music that has to be seen to be believed.

Well worth tracking down.
November 25, 2015
Difficult movies to rate because they're just insane.
October 16, 2015
WEIRD chase scene ever made.
½ August 25, 2015
I did not find this film appealing and it disturbs me that there are people who do.
August 12, 2015
Shinya Tsukamoto's neo-surrealist nightmare is best described as what it might look like if David Lynch and David Cronenberg teamed up to make a Terminator fan film.
Following a sort of flesh-devouring curse brought about by a man named 'The Metal Fetishist', Tsukamoto's film is a smorgasbord of eerie images, scratchy sound-play and stifling paranoia. Think spinning drill-penises, random tap-dancing and general midnight movie mayhem. All of which, naturally, make no sense whatsoever.
Virile, visceral horror with great novel oddities and a not-so-great music video mentality.
½ July 24, 2015
A gritty, industrial horror commentary on the mechanization of modern Japan, Tetsuo: the Ironman is singular and disturbing. [A-]
July 21, 2015
With its colorless industrial setting, its effective body horror, its disturbing obsession with sex and violence, and its frenzied special effects and camerawork, Tetsuo is a freakshow of revolting imagination.
½ March 11, 2015
Tetsuo: The Ironman is hugely a matter of preference, giving those who indulge in surrealism and unanswered questions something to revel in and those wanting explanation a frustrating mess of gory images.
½ February 19, 2015
Haunting, terrifying, electrifying. Stop motion with people. Themes of duality, personhood, man vs machine, masculinity. So brilliant.
½ February 16, 2015
Visually arresting. Modern mythic play. Duality themes: human/machine, nature/made, revenge/forgiveness, fear/love.
November 3, 2014
A violation of the senses. I literally have no clue what I just watched. Can't even give an honest rating
October 25, 2014
Absolutely stunning! Unlike anything I have ever seen before!
October 22, 2014
a literal mind f*ck!
June 11, 2014
Industrialissimo, con un impatto visivo devastante.
January 2, 2014
A businessman begins to turn into a human machine after an encounter with a woman, a metal fetishist who gets kicks out of jamming metal parts into her body. Disturbing visual spectacle and brilliantly crafted flight of fancy, though there is a lack of plot, the visuals are enough to make this film a sinisterly and shockingly mind blowing experience.
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