Tashaki Miike knows when to linger on a detail; when to linger in the story. The tongue cutting scene is very disturbing.
The camera work puts the viewer there, right in the scene. The camera work with the sound makes the overcranked motion work–which would otherwise be cheap and a gimmick.
The performances are spot-on. They all just seem right.
Simple, yet effective: everyone wears a dark suit… but Ichi wears a purple trenchcoat and bleached hair.
How did they do the split cheeks effect? Cigarette smoke comes out the slits!
We are indoors often. Usually in tight halls and rooms. Intentional? Or all they had to work with?
Ichi’s slit cheeks give him a permanent Joker smile. Very ominous, creepy.
Ichi carries no weapons?
Whoa! The madam’s finger scene! What Ichi does. Her delayed reaction. Cut to the junkie yelling in the feathers.
Whoa! That’s not Ichi. I wasn’t paying attention.
Some very cool shots (Suzuki mummy-wrapped through bars of bed)… but shots don’t make the story. It’s characters. And this has got characters… including the main one who we haven’t met yet! We get to know the characters: Kakihara, the bodygaurd, the girls, the other boss, . We learn a lot about the Kakihara. We learn Kakihara loved the boss but not for the reasons people thought.
The hit men that come to the hospital. Cool. When they sit outside the room (and we Push in on them); they discuss their masks. Beautiful; like Tarantino dialogue… but less Hollywood, more human.
Oh my. the rape scenes–where the john beats and rapes the prostitute–are hard to watch. But that’s not saying it right. Those scenes are… um, brutal. Yes. But more. Real. Yes. But still more. they are… I don’t know. The actress’ acting is what makes the scene. More than the blood, the beating, the rape.
Whoa! The back story on the guy who likes the prostitute! He waits at the window. He finally opens it. Will he lower his head like before?
Whoa! The pimp knocks him around; he cries. The costume! The exchange! What’s is this costume? Why are you crying? I’m not crying. Yes you are. No, I’m not. The blade out of the shoes! the kick. the reaction. the things spill out. (The cut in half bit is much too much–so absurd. It couldn’t happen even with a powered saw. Too bad. He could have kicked him with a blade without cutting his entire body in half.
Whoa! The end of that scene is… hard. Brutal. But more than that. The dialogue. The expressions. What happens. The reactions. Oh my.
Cut to Haro’s head in the TV. To other killers grieving Haro. To the meeting–the kicking out of Kakihara. Wow. The bandaged Suzuki downstairs shouting up. The other guy on video. Karihara looking over the rail.
Wow. K comes back in, knocks the bandaged Suzuki down, and says, “Oh, I forgot one thing.” “What’s that?” Then boom. Gently, with a smile and a nod.
That is an exhausing several minutes for the viewer.
To K sticking scared guy’s foot with one of his pointy blades. Then the guy walks down the street with the board still stuck to his foot!
The directing is straight-forward (for the most part). He even crosses the line at times. He just puts the camera where it needs to be.
I think prostitute guy is Ichi!!!
Everything seems to be setting up a showdown between karihara and Ichi (whoever he is)
Study… or take a look at… the characters. The bad guy is not a villian. He has disposed (polite for “killed”) several villians. We know there is back-story on Karihara because of his scars.
Hey! There is little exposition (by itself). There is also little plot (by itself). There is mainly character-development via plot or exposition. Clever storytelling. Clever (engaging) weaving of mulitple stories together.
Karihara always has that gentle smile!
A long walk down the street, into the camera. With the coward shaking the wood off his foot.
Other two assassins live in small, dirty apartment.
OK! So that dude was going to Ichi. Ichi is the prostitute avenger. And the guy staring at the TV.
Whoa. “She wanted me to rape her.” Ichi crawls backward under the blanket.
Here’s the thing: every encounter is unsettling, unexpected. Few… no encounters play out the way the viewer expects.
After Kakihara and the pimp and the boss’ girl, the next scene is the boys bullying the smaller boy. The shoe lands by Ichi. There is already so much tension in the air (from the previous unfinished scene), that Ichi’s shyness makes the scene terrifying.
Dang. The boy waits for Ichi to save him. The boy watches Ichi ride off and we know the boy has had a realization. Presumably that he can stick up for himself.
Whoa. Next scene. Kakihara getting beat by girl… from his POV. WHOA!!! “My boss was a lot better at this.” Whoa. He UNWRAPS the chains… he was holding himself bound.
Whoa. The manipulation of Ichi! Until he runs, crying.
Whoa. He cuts the locks with his shoe blades. WHOA. The sequence after. The replaying of a conversation between Ichi and ?? Then Ichi turns to the camera… and back into color.
The coward is still the coward. The timid is still timid. Oooh. The smile Ichi gives the kid. Agonizing.
OK. The room is gross. Miike had to show the room, though. To show Kakihara’s reaction; to get K’s men to bolt; to show what Ichi can do.
Whoa! Takeshi’s (the boy) dad is a police officer. I knew that… but I didn’t know who his dad was. He has infiltrated the mob!
Cool location: strange alley, pit where Ichi watches the sky. The title of the film adds a great deal to the movie. The viewer has been looking for, or waiting for, this Ichi the super-killer. What a surprise when we find him. The undercover police DOES find Ichi, but doesn’t know it. Flashback for policeman. Ichi is more than timid. He has oppressive guilt for the killings he has done. WHOA! Flashback and flashback when police eats with Ichi and Kakihara is seated behind police. Cool. A little confusing. Let it play and you can get enough.
Who is the guy manipulating Ichi?? The two assassins are brothers… and detectives. Corrupt detectives who do work for Kakihara. They bully the policeman a bit.
Nice use of a “beat”… when Ichi’s controller tells the girl: “But he never was really bullied.” Cam lingers on girl’s face as she lowers her gaze. Lower their gaze is effective for Moments.
Whoa. Double-blind. Ichi was brainwashed… but the girl remembers it too.
Ugh. Torturing the girl.
Whoa. Conversation with Kaneko and hitman as they guard the door. “I have no regrets.” “I have lots of them. The only reason I ended up here is I was tough.”
Ugh. Kakihara rips out his face rings and takes Longo’s fist in his mouth. Then cut to Ichi manipulator watching (?) the boy.
Whoa. Tachibana recognizes Ichi (after running into him)
The dialogue in Ichi’s apartment. Cool. But not like Tarantino, which means, it tries to be cool. The dialogue is cool because we care about these characters and they are so clearly defined.
As we approach the end, we lose our taste for it… for the story, for the characters. After the scene with Ichi and Tashibana. There is nothing cool, or engaging, about violence to women. Who is Jijii? How is he connected to the Syndicate? The story is confusing, and here at the end, the story gets lost. Too many people are ripped up, cut up, broken up. We get it already. OK, we know that these are the bad guys. The story becomes overwhelmed and lost in the blood.
The showdown becomes a non-showdown. It gets messed up. He cuts sound at end. Plays an imagined scene.
Strange percussion sounds add agreat deal