Gozu (Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu) (2003)

More craziness from Takashi Miike.
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Gozu (Gokudo kyofu dai-gekijo: Gozu) - More Craziness from Takashi Miike

Never known to conform (well maybe One Missed Call was conforming), the crazy brain of Takashi Miike delivers another 1.48333 hours of Yakuza profoundness with Gozu (Gokudo kyofu dai-gekijo: Gozu, which translates as Grand Theatre of Perversion and Fear: Cow's Head). The movie starts off as a peculiar gangster flick with a plethora of eccentric characters but soon evolves into an unusual and fantastical fantasy making the beginning seem sane (even when the beginning seems unoutbizzarable). The outlandish characters are very well developed despite their obvious complete insanity and are multifaceted enough to form an emotional investment in their obscure lives. The storyline is equally well crafted and zany but stitches together extremely well and manages to be a coherent and nicely put together plot rather than a montage of disconnected scenes which it could have become in the hands of a less experienced (and less derailed) director. As is common with the work of Takashi Miike the boundaries of decency are pushed and taboos such as old woman lactation milk factories, brutal pooch abuse and ladle prostate-stimulation are displayed in their full glorious distaste.

In an almost Tarantino-esque gang meeting in the local Yakuza coffee shop, Ozaki, after emphasising that his next words are not to be taken seriously, explains that the tiny white dog outside of the window in the arms of it's loving elderly owner is a "Yakuza attack dog" especially trained to attack Yakuza, he then proceeds to protect his fellow gang members by going outside and beating the petite pooch to a pulp finishing it of with a seven-twenty degree lead spin into the window.

Obviously miniature canine cruelty is not a preferred line of work for gangsters and should always come after drug dealing, prostitute pimping, pornographic pictures, kitty callousness and budgie brutality and for this reason Minami, Ozaki's brother, is tasked with the mission of escorting his beloved sibling to the "dumping ground" and returning alone. Not too happy with dispatching of his sibling, Minami is quite relieved when another of Ozaki's paranoid fits concludes with Ozaki's demise in a car accident.

Excited to report the good news to his boss, Minami, stops in at the local freak-diner to report back but after returning to his car after some misfit interaction he discovers that his brother's corpse has gone astray. Minami proceeds on his own little adventure of family finding and self discovery meeting many unhelpful people on the way and discovering his sexuality, his feminine side, a cow-headed man-beast in underpants and discovering that mans desperation to "spend the rest of his life trying to get back in" can end up quite sticky if you go in the same way you came out.

It is sometimes difficult to grasp what is going through the mind of Takashi Miike (although I suspect it must be white and powdery) when viewing his creations although getting to the end of one of his movies always creates a sense of completeness even if the notion of what is complete is not always clear. As I interpret it, Gozu is a very metaphorical anecdote with an obscured notion of new beginnings which, as always in real life, involves being licked by cow-headed men and being reborn fully grown from a skinny woman's vagina. There are many other symbols planted in the obscurity as Minami discovers himself and interacts with the various reflections of his inner and confused self and a each viewing of the movie reveals another clandestine concept. Gozu is more of a sofa adventure than a movie and manages to work (in an abstract way) on so many levels with an abundance of violence, bad taste, deviant perversions and a fulfilling sense of closure.
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Categories: Asian Horror Movies

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