Masahiro Motoki plays a well-to-do doctor, very much concerned with class difference, eager to distance himself from slum-dwellers, whom he regards as barely human. He is deeply in love with his fiancée, a woman suffering from amnesia. His life collapses in chaos when his parents are murdered by a prowler, who then throws him down a dry well. This prowler turns out to be his twin, who proceeds to take over his identity.
One hell of a rattling score gets things off to a disturbing s…art, and there are plenty of images here that will linger in the mind. Director Shinya Tsukamoto has nevertheless toned things down considerably since Tetsuo. Not only is his story perfectly comprehensible, but it is also much less dark than his earlier work. In fact, the story would be stronger if it were darker, its conclusion a bit less pat.
The audio is the original Japanese in 2.0. The aforementioned score envelops the viewer in disturbing fashion, though at the same time it is a little bit thin. The left-right separation is strong, and there is some nice front-to-rear movement of the sound as well. The surround elements are solid. All in all, a good track, within the limits of the format.
Tsukamoto has a strong visual sense, and the transfer does his film justice. The colours are strong, faithfully reproducing an interesting palette (such as an early scene when everything is heavily tinted red). The image is sharp, the blacks are good. The grain is minimal to the point of being essentially unnoticeable. Even the ugly scenes here look very nice.
Much is made on the packaging of the fact that the making-of feature is directed by Takashi Miike. I don’t think he strained anything putting this together, as it is a fairly standard collection of behind-the-scenes footage. The make-up featurette is unusually detailed – by the end of the step-by-step instructions, you should be able to recreate the effect yourself. The trailer is the Japanese one, and only partially subtitled. The still gallery is presented in the slide-show format. The menu is animated and scored.
A strong film, though it could be stronger, but well worth the time spent with it. Another fine release from Image.
Special Features List
- Making-of Documentary
- Make-Up Featurette
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer