Saturday, 24 August 2013

Film Review: GOZU (2003)

Gozu - poster [Original Title: Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu]

Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Sakichi Satô
Running time: 129 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Drama/Horror
UK Release date: 30th July 2004

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 24th August 2013.


Films that are reported as being ‘innovative’ or ‘cutting-edge’ are always of interest to me. I find they quite often make a nice change from Hollywood films and it probably explains why I watch quite a few foreign films. I have to admit that they don’t always quite hit the mark and this, I’m afraid, is a case in point. I will tell you why after this very brief summary.

Gozu - 1 When Minami (Yûta Sone) is ordered to kill Ozaki (Shô Aikawa) by the boss of their criminal gang (Renji Ishibashi). He is ordered to take him to the ‘disposal site’, many miles from their base in the city. After a road accident that leaves Ozaki unconscious, Minami finds himself in a very strange village. He goes into a café to contact the boss and when he comes out there is no sign of Ozaki. Desperate, he looks everywhere and nobody he meets is interested in helping him. He eventually finds the member of another gang who agree to help him and Nose (Shôhei Hino) is assigned the task. Minami is taken to a very strange inn where the innkeeper (Keiko Tomita) and her brother (Harumi Sone) are very odd indeed. In fact everything about the place is extremely odd! Now, what happens here and what happens when Minami returns to his gang are what this film is concerned with. It is all extremely bizarre and I’m not sure I understand it even having watched it. There is another character I should mention and that is ‘Female Ozaki’ (Kimika Yoshino) who has a major part to play towards the end, but how she fits into the story I’ll leave you to wonder. So I’ll leave my short summary here with but a few titbits to tantalize you.

Gozu - 3 To say this film is bizarre is to put it extremely mildly; in places, it’s down-right bonkers! However, I did find it strangely compelling, if a little difficult to follow here and there. I’m usually pretty good at following foreign language films; even those with subtitles, but this one just lost me a couple of times. At times it was very violent and it could be also very comic; touching drama and even horrific; it seems to touch many genres. There were some excellent special effects; all practical effects as far as I could see; and some of these were truly stunning (particularly one near the end). Over all though, I did find it a tad over long and a little frustrating to follow (too many metaphors, maybe?). Even so, I will deem it ‘recommended’ for its’ innovative effects and some compelling (if confusing) story telling.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 5.8/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 6,455 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 58/100: (Based on 19 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Gozu - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 56 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100 (based on 8,323 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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