Serial killer movies come dime a dozen, but rarely does a director delve into the psychological angles of the crime and deftly paints a picture that is at once grim, disturbing and "real". Imamura’s true-life account of a sociopathic killer who became national news in Japan during the 60’s, is a dark and grimy chronicle of a man who took to crime and violence as a duck takes to water. The film begins with Enokizu, the vicious and cocky bespectacled antagonist, in police custody, and thereon Imamura made use of an exquisite fractured narrative to present who this mysterious man was and what led him to leave a trail of innocent bodies on his way. Played with incredible power and intensity by Ken Ogata, Enokizu is shown as a naturally aggressive, masochistic and volatile individual with pathological and anti-social tendencies, and a voracious libido. His strained relationship with his staunchly Catholic father and his twisted psyche do not just turn him into an aimless drifter, but also eventually into a murder – there’s hardly ever any well-set agenda to his crimes apart from his existential angst, general sense of apathy, the need to keep alive, and that he is, quite simply, a force of nature at direct odds with the world he lives in. Fine supporting turns by Miluni as his passive father, Baisho as his beautiful but neglected wife, and Ogawa as a luscious inn-keeper and the only person with whom he shares a semblance of relationship, made this well photographed, darkly comic exploration into the grotesque and primitive sides of human behavior an arresting watch.
Director: Shohei Imamura
Genre: Crime Drama/Psychological Drama/Black Comedy