Thursday, August 04, 2005

Film Review Ichi The Killer

I thought the film was going to be about a loner who went around killing people as most killers are portrayed in film, but instead Ichi The Killer is a film about a Masochist (Kakihara) and a sadist (Ichi). Ichi as the anti-hero who has absolutely no control over his destiny, he is an introverted, scared, pathetic character who is used by his mentor as a weapon. I could analyse this a lot more and tell you exactly how things are in the film, but then that wouldn't leave much of a reason for you to see the film. Surprisingly for an Eastern film there is a woven plot and almost no character development.

The whole thing is based on a Manga and usually when films are based on Mangas they are made so that fans of the Manga will pay to see the film, but the films in themselves are very watered down versions of the original material. They contain a lot of plot holes and have a lot of unanswered questions in them. The same cannot be said for Ichi The Killer. The English DVD release contains all the scenes that where removed from the Hong Kong release (so it is the film the Director intended) and the relationships between all the characters are clear by the end of the film. So in itself the film stands on it's own very well. I am not sure why Karen (the bilingual temptress) pretends to be Ichi's girlfriend at one point in the film, but other than that the film is very complete.

Visually the film is brilliant, especially with Kakihara, the captain of one of the gangs. He dresses like you would expect a modern Dr Who to dress (big pink trenchcoat and baggy stripped pants) and with his blond hair he has a big presence in the film (blond hair in Asian culture is generally a symbol being cool, personally I think it is a dare to-be-different attitude that people who dye their black-hair blond express).

If you like Tarantino films then you will like this. There isn't any long monologue sequences that are common in Tarantino films, but the ultra violence and gang imagery punctuates the very essence of this film.

Ichi The Killer is many things including a comedy, love story (the relationship between Kakihara and Ichi, though these characters never truly meet) and gory gang war flick.