Written by Hitoshi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Takasu, Tomoji Hasegawa, Kôji Ema & Mitsuru Kuramoto
Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto
Given it’s premise, the fact that it sounded like a mix of “Quitters Inc.”, “Fight Club” and “The Game” as well as the fact that the director came highly recommended (I hadn’t seen one of his movies yet), I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it soooo wasn’t my cup of tea. It started of promising, with that first kick in the restaurant, and then the flashback to when he went to the Bondage-club to sign up (the carousel-scene was particularly great), as well as some tense moments when the dominas also came to his work at later even to his home, and he decides he wants to quit. Unfortunately, it all was far too weird for me. The strange puffy face with that ripple-effect laid over it, the queen of voices, the spit-queen… all of those were already weird enough, but even they couldn’t prepare me for what came afterwards. I think it was the gobbler where the movie finally lost me. After that, I kinda knew that everything was possible. I expected the unexpected, so every new element that came in only made me shrug, but didn’t surprise or shock me. I just couldn’t take it seriously anymore.
I also hated the meta-level. As soon as we saw those guys standing there I already knew what was going on, so again, the humor fell completely flat for me. And it was so totally out of the blue and didn’t fit with the rest of the movie. He tried to be clever and comment about his own movie, but at least for me, it didn’t work. Especially since commenting about a potential plot hole doesn’t make the plot hole go away. It may be intended as ironic, but to me, it felt rather lazy. Like instead of finding a way to explain it, we just let someone comment on how stupid that was. Ha ha, very clever. Not. The showdown then was completely crazy, but not in a good way. The main protagonist (the IMDB doesn’t tell me his name, and I don’t recall, sorry) uses hand granades to bomb one Domina-Ninja-squad away after the other, and it just got dull and uninteresting very quickly. And the final twist again was completely shrug-worthy to me. The finale featured one good scene though: The “Ode to Joy” and the musical scale. That was inspired, and actually made me laugh. Other than that, this movie was no Ode to Joy for me at all.*
* = In the interest of full disclosure: Many people in the audience laughed their asses off. So maybe it’s just me. If you’re a fan of weird japanese cinema – and, for example, like those japanese segments from “The ABCs of Death” that I couldn’t stand – you might as well give it a try.
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