Violence at Noon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Violence at Noon Reviews

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½ May 27, 2016
life in post WWII war Japan
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2012
Complex story about love, lonliness, lust, and death. Fairly competent performances, but would've benefitted from better performances. Interesting, experimental and free camera work. The two women at the end reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. But this film falls short of that kind of brilliance.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2012
I've been grinding through the Nagisa Oshima catalog for the past year or so, and "Violence at High Noon" was the last of his major films that I checked off.

Sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I hoped. Much of the film's renown comes from its quick editing -- over 2,000 shots in all, according to whoever had the patience to count. But in this age of hyperactive, high-tech thrillers, the cuts aren't as jarring as they would have been in 1966. At this point, what's more notable is that no other Oshima movie is cut this way and, in fact, he has films such as "The Ceremony" that rely on unusually *long* shots.

"Violence at High Noon" opens with an intense, nine-minute sequence of a home invasion that leads to one woman being raped and another being murdered (both crimes occur off-camera -- no need to shield your eyes). From there, much of the story occurs in flashback. The attacker, Eisuke, is his victim's former lover. He has assaulted numerous women, and the police are on his trail. He is married to Matsuko, but the two have been apart due to his outlaw lifestyle. The raped woman, Shino, also was briefly married to Genji, a man who committed suicide for weakly defined reasons. Previously, Genji was involved with Matsuko too. All four characters once worked together in some failed, agricultural commune, but whatever insinuations Oshima is making about organized youth in Japan (a dominant concern of his work) are subordinate to the more specific tale of a crime spree.

Really, the above covers most of the story -- the film gives background more than it advances a plot. The script does not focus on Eisuke's mayhem but rather the reactions of Shino and Matsuko. Both women know he is the culprit whom the police seek, but wrestle with their consciences about whether to report him or not.

Kei Sato and Saeda Kawaguchi are excellent as Eisuke and Shino and they need to be, since so many harsh closeups force them to act with their faces alone. Akiko Koyama (Matsuko) is also quite good with her edgy air of smiling distress, but has a less demanding role.

I anticipated a more shocking, flamboyant film -- perhaps with a virtuoso, lightning sequence that did for rape what the shower scene of "Psycho" did for murder. "Violence at High Noon" does not supply this, but it does dig into some interesting, volatile characters.
½ November 25, 2011
I actually DID feel confused a lost a couple of time during the film, but only in the first half. It did jump around a lot, but after a certain point I clicked into Oshima's fast-paced rhythm (and it has about 2,000 cuts so that is a lot even by today's standards), and it has such a fiery sense of what is right and wrong and how the gray areas of the world just take over, and also how a rapist and murder can be understood, if certainly not "liked" at all. It's a dynamic, angry character, simmering and volatile, and when he's on screen you can't take your eyes off him (and it makes for one of the really great openings to any movie, as he enters a house and eyes a woman, a very dangerous-sexy scene). I really got engrossed in this story of suicide, regret, guilt, and what happens when enveloped in society - that it's a murder mystery is so secondary a note, maybe even the last thing on Oshima's mind. In fact if it hadn't been for a scene on a train that is just shot very clumsily and pretentiously, it might be close to being a perfect "art" film, where a director takes some major chances with style and effect to tell his story. As it stands, I was drawn into Violence at Noon through the emotionally harrowing performances and the innovative editing (and even among other "New Wave" filmmakers of the era who used editing to unconventional effect this had an uncanny sense of going back and forth in time - taking on memory as snapshots, but still cohesive for a full story).
October 3, 2011
Oh you women, 'he's a rapist and a killer and he raped me in front of my dead lover but I love him and I can change him!!!' That's a bit more extreme than 'he's a good for nothing lazy bum who treats me like crap but I can turn him into a loving, caring, candy buying built dude who loves me for who I am!!!' Just a bit.
September 20, 2010
Nagisa Oshima takes a page from the New Wave and chops this psychological serial rapist thriller into a jumble of jump cuts, rapid edits, time shifts, camera trickery, and political satire, and it's one of the most ambitious, mesmerizing films of his career.

The late Kei Sato stars as the High Noon Attacker, a farmer who, as flashbacks tell us, has devolved into a rapist and a murderer because of the misguided affections of a local school-teacher and a young, comely maid, both of who know they shouldn't be hiding the man's identity from the police, but that's the nature of psycho-sexual obsession. As the film plunges like a speeding train towards it's disturbing conclusion, Sato and the psychology of a murderer become less prevalent than the budding frustrations and duel psyches of the women, who blend in a "Persona"-esque nightmare.

Oshima keeps us guessing as to why the murderer is as he is, and why these two women are so drawn to him (with both hate, and especially, lust), with a narrative that routinely shifts back and forth in time with little indication or physical association for clues, but it's all part of a fascinating cinematic fabric, confusing and exhilarating.
½ August 13, 2010
The story of a serial rapist/killer and the two women in his past trying to protect him. Oshima structures the film by cutting between two different chronologies, one following the investigation and more importantly the communication between the women, and the other flashback, establishing the relationships between the characters and the roots of Eisuke's crimes. It's not really a study of his psychosis, however, but rather an exploration of people bound together by violence, failure, lonelieness and despair. I found the film's cinematic aspects more intriguing than its thematic aspects (which, to be honest, I don't think I've quite deciphered yet). Oshima's compositions can be striking, and the frame is often blown out with glaring sunlight. There's also an unusually large number of cuts, and at points certain shots and pans get looped, flipped, or reversed, a kind of schizophrenic turmoil of camera movement. Although overall the film didn't dig into my soul enough to resonate, it's definitely an interesting piece of work.
½ August 4, 2010
Oshima's film about a serial killer whose perversians deal with sex and violence is a rather interesting piece of cinema, but it never quite achieves the greatness of some of his other work. The film tells the story of two women, the killer's wife and the first woman he raped, whom are protecting his identity from the police. The editing and shot compositions are damn near perfect, which really is Oshima's greatest strength as a filmmaker. The film uses various editing techniques to jar the viewer and create this unique atmosphere. In the end its a rather fascinating study of sex, violence and suicide but it just never achieves the same level for me as some of his other films notable 'Pleasures of the Flesh/ and 'Death By Hanging.'
½ July 21, 2010
At first about a rapist-murderer, but the movie becomes more about the two women in his life whom he couldn't love and thus turns to other women to be the victims of his pent-up frustration. Less about him, than those two women -- a strange, but crisp portrait of two very different women sadly have all too much in common.
½ March 14, 2010
LETTERBOX. Su estilización es excesiva, cosa que deja de molestar a medida que avanza e incluso se vuelve estimulante... Llegado un punto, es hasta más interesante que la historia misma. / Its excessive stylization stops being annoying as it goes along, and even becomes stimulating... At a certain point, it's even more interesting than the story itself.
½ September 17, 2009
Magnifié par la force de ses 200 plans qui ajoutent au magnifique récit un rythme trépidant, le film donne droit à d'intenses performances qui se lient à cette somptueuse réflexion sur l'amour, le meurtre et d'autres sujets aussi dramatique que choquant et comble de tout, touchant.
August 4, 2009
Mesperizing editing in places creates menace and perspective simulataneously. Establishes a genre feel but then moves way past any constraints with inventive flashbacks reminiscent of Kurasawa but with a harder less humane edge. More than a whiff of Hithcock as morality shifts along with the plot and the themes focus on the areas around crime rather than crime itself. Origins of sociopathy are presented as being in society as well as in the individual
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "Violence at Noon," Shino(Saeda Kawaguchi), a maid, is attacked and raped by Eisuke(Kei Sato) who is from her home village and according to him once saved her life. Once the police arrive, Shino surprisingly does not give him up, despite Eisuke being the nefarious High Noon Assailant and killing her employer. Instead, she writes Matsuko(Akiko Koyama), a schoolteacher and Eisuke's wife, asking what to do next.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Violence at Noon" is a beautifully photographed, well-edited and potentially provocative movie that simply left me cold. None of these characters can escape their past with Matsuko literally being haunted by the ghost of Genji(Rokko Toura) who once had a chance to pursue a successful political career before committing suicide. In fact, starting with Matsuko's parents after a flood destroys their farm, there is much talk of suicide in the movie, but little of the accompanying hopelessness which would normally lead to such a drastic and ultimate action. Yes, being lonely can be a hard thing to endure but it is not the end of the world by any means.[/font]
½ December 16, 2008
I think this is the first Oshima film I've seen, and while it wasn't great there was certainly enough there to keep me interested. There was some really great cinematography and lighting, though it wasn't as consistently stunning as Wakamatsu or Yoshida. The story was alright. I really liked the way it shifted between the past in rural Japan and the present in Urban Japan. Still, things definitely dragged occasionally and I found myself having to really work at paying attention. Overall, a decent film, but I think I need to see more Oshima before I can comment on the body of his work.
½ November 26, 2008
Is similar in many ways to Imamura's Vengeance is Mine. Very interesting plot and story but ultimately unevenly paced. The editing is very interesting for its time as it uses many cuts. Overall, a decent Oshima film.
August 6, 2008
beautifully filmed but the women are predictably preyed upon and obnoxiously resigned to their shitty fates.
March 9, 2008
Masterpiece to see at all costs. Incredible polyphonic style at the service of a nihilistic and hopeless representation of life.
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