Opens Friday, March 7
A convoluted, time-twisting, sexually tinged thriller that owes more than a small debt to "Vertigo", Hideo Nakata
's "Chaos" is the sort of intellectual cinematic parlor game that will best appeal to those who like their mysteries as complicated as possible. Resembling "Memento" in its intricacies if not its elegance, the film has already been slotted for an American remake directed by Jonathan Glazer
and starring Robert De Niro
and Benicio Del Toro
. No doubt, the complexities of its plot will be somewhat smoothed out for domestic consumption. The film is currently playing an exclusive theatrical engagement at New York's Cinema Village.
The story begins simply enough, with the kidnapping of the wife of a successful Japanese businessman after the two have had lunch together in a restaurant. We soon learn, however, that the kidnapping is a ruse, staged by Satomi (Miki Nakatani
), the wife, with the aid of her handyman Takayuki (Ken Mitsuishi
) to better test the fidelity of her husband Goro (Masato Hagiwara
). Showing up at Takayuki's house after the "abduction," she willingly submits to his suggestion that he tie her up, with the inevitable kinky sex resulting. But even here, things are not quite what they seem, with the plot further evolving into a nearly indecipherable morass of twists, double-crosses and illusions.
Complicating matters even further, the story is told in nonchronological fashion, providing only the subtlest of hints to clue us in as to the sudden shifts in time. The results demand the closest of attention, with even the most attentive viewers likely to become lost at some point, though the numerous homages to "Vertigo" provide handy reference points.
Ultimately, the willful obfuscation becomes more frustrating than entertaining, and director Nakata ("Ringu" and "Ringu 2") fails to provide enough of a visual style or sustained mood to sustain interest. Not helping matters are the inexpressive performances by the male leads. The beautiful Nakatani, however, demonstrates that she has what it takes to be a femme fatale
in the best noir tradition.
A Kino International release
Tidepoint Pictures/Viz Films and Kino International
Director: Hideo Nakata
Screenwriter: Hisashi Saito
Producers: Takeo Kodero
, Satoshi Kanno
, Kimio Hara
Executive producer: Naoki Kai
Director of photography: Tokusho Kikimura
Music: Kenji Kawai
Goro Kuroda: Masato Hagiwara
Satomi Tsushima: Miki Nakatani
Takayuki Komiyama: Ken Mitsuishi
Detective Hamaguchi: Jun Kunimura
Running time -- 104 minutes
No MPAA rating