» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

October 27, 2004
Izo, a film by Team Okuyama/KSS/Office Kitano/Excellent Film, directed by Takashi Miike. (128 Minutes)

Rating: 8/10

Earlier this year I had the chance to catch this film at the Vancouver International Film Festival not really knowing what to expect. That is not to say that I am not familiar with the director, Takashi Miike, but rather it is the fact that I am familiar with his body of work that keeps me guessing at the form of his challenging films. Through much searching and ordering online I've accumulated a small selection of Miike films over the past few years; Audition, Ichi the Killer, and Happiness of the Katakuris are all amazing in showcasing Miike's talent for bending genres.

Side note; there was this belligerent woman seated behind me at the screening (off to the right a bit) that managed to severely hamper my enjoyment of Izo due to her incessant laughing (it was an annoying laugh - interspersed with comments like "wicked!"). Not that Izo is not 'wicked' or funny at parts, but really now- she would not stop!

Izo starts off as a samurai/feudal Japan-era film but quickly picks up pace and careens through set piece after set piece. The film takes the audience on a monstrously violent (there were a few
in attendance who got up and left the theatre during the first 15 minutes of the film) and enigmatic quest for blood, and the film does not even worry itself with the details of narrative dynamics. Izo, the main character, is confronted by characters ranging from the Prime Minister of Japan - played by the ever stoic 'Bīto' Takeshi - to vampire villa salesmen and Mother Earth, complete with folk song interludes.

Those looking for traditional story structure and a coherent narrative in a film are fated to have a horrible time digesting Izo. Some will undoubtedly find the film to be near incomprehensible and will understandably see no redeeming characteristic in the atypical structure. The endless violence and bloodshed will prove indeed to verge on the exhaustive for some audiences, and upon closer examination it seems as if that aspect of the dynamic is quite intentional. Miike takes the shocking qualities of the 'action' and carnage and repeats them to such extremes that the effect upon the audience is eventually deadened, making death and blood seem boring.

The character of Izo is a demonic embodiment of a contra - an outright contradiction to the systems in which the film dwells. He is an anti-thesis that is blaring, a character pulsating with violence and a vile humanity, or an aspect thereof. With Izo, Miike has assembled an untidy heap of shit that is centered on the nature of the 'human' and he uses the unsightliness to disassembles the aura of contradictions, war, systems, society and a vibrant mishmash of material in between. If have the fortune of finding this somewhere in the near future, make sure you do not miss this rather unique offering from Japan.

SEE ALSO > www.izo-movie.com

Abi Huynh
A contributing writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Abi Huynh enjoys film and music that most people criminally ignore.

See other articles by Abi Huynh.



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