Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Posted by JPX
“I died, so everyone else should die, too”
Yoshioka is a rough around the edges police detective who occasionally uses uncouth methods to obtain confessions (i.e., beats the crap out of them). It’s clear that he’s on the edge of burn out when we first meet him (think Riggs in the original Lethal Weapon). Yoshioka is called to a crime scene where he finds an unusual murder – an unknown woman face down in a puddle near the Tokyo waterfront. Although she appears to have drowned in a puddle, forensics later determines that her lungs were filled with salt water. Even more puzzling, a button found on the dead woman comes from Yoshioka’s jacket and it has his fingerprints on it. The forensics expert simply chalks this up to Yoshioka losing the button at the crime scene.
It’s not long before the woman in the red dress starts haunting the hell out of Yoshioka. As time goes on her appearances become more intense and frightening, the problem is that Yoshioka has no recollection of this woman is and keeps telling her, “I don’t know who you are!”
Meanwhile other similar murders occur, which involve women face down in puddles with seawater in their lungs. Over time each of these murders are solved and it is concluded that they were murdered by different people and not a serial killer. The mystery of the woman in red remains unresolved, however, and Yoshioka is determined to get to the bottom of things even it means that he might somehow be involved in the young woman’s murder.
Hot damn, more excellent J-horror! This one is a cut above the others not only in the scares but also because of the terrific script. Retribution was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (i.e., Kairo, Séance, Cure, etc) and features his trademark compelling imagery as well as his focus on the nature of loneliness. What I love about Kurosawa’s style is his unusual portrayal of ghosts. At times his ghosts are very subtle and almost blend into the background. There were a few scenes where it took me a moment to even realize that a ghost was in a room yet when I rewound the scene I confirmed that it had been there all along. At other times his ghosts glide quickly across the room as if on rollers shrieking so loudly that all your hair will stand on end – the title of this film translates into “Scream” but was changed because of the American film series. Kurosawa also uses a lot of slow motion and silence for maximum chills and this is what really separates J-horror from American horror. In American horror movie scares are crowbarred into us with loud music and forewarning. J-horror, especially Kurosawa J-horror is terrifying because we get no such signs that we should prepare ourselves to be jolted. Also, the themes of loneliness, despair, and abandonment would never play in the American horror market (i.e., the market that found O.J. innocent because they didn’t see the point of all that silly DNA science stuff; the market that likes Sara Palin because she’s a hockey mom and she “gets” me), which eschews intelligent storytelling for cheap scares. Retribution is must see J-horror. Wait, let me rephrase that; Retribution is must see horror.
I couldn't help but be amused by the psychologist's office in this film,I mean, look at that terrible furniture!
"Gee, Doc, your office is kind of crappy"
at 7:03 AM