15 year-old Molly is the best in her class in high school. Nobody suspects that the model pupil earns her money at night: as prostitute "Angel" on Sunset Blvd. The well-organized separation... See full summary »
Passionately directed fifth installment, ANGEL GUTS: RED VERTIGO (aka RED DIZZINESS), possesses the Takashi Ishii edge and is a solid exhibit of the talent for provocative imagery that this fine director also brought to GONIN and FREEZE ME.
Nami, a dreamy nurse (Mayako Katsuragi), is raped, cheated on by her photographer boyfriend, struck by a car and molested by the driver (Naoto Takenaka), a pathetic loser who is on the run from businessmen he ripped off. This unlikely duo discover a twisted shade of love.
It's the director who makes or breaks these films because the plots are merely serviceable. Though some critics consider the eroticizing of sexual violence in cinema questionable, I am not one of them. Sex and violence are strong cinematic staples and hold a power that only a courageous filmmaker can adequately convey.
In every scene, Ishii tries hard. He never retreats to bland, conventional coverage and extracts maximum erotic potential from the sexually charged scenarios. Ms. Katsuragi delivers a strong, believable performance as the unfortunate victim of male lust and opportunism. She conveys vulnerability and strength and suggests that she lives a life beyond the film's immediate framing.
An early scene, in which Nami's boyfriend takes erotic photographs of his mistress, which uses stark lighting and harsh sound effects, radiates an anarchic, raw sexuality.
This is solid, sensual, exciting cinema.
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