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When a Yakuza boss named Anjo disappears with 300 million yen, his chief henchman, a sadomasochistic man named Kakihara, and the rest of his mob goons go looking for him. After capturing and torturing a rival Yakuza member looking for answers, they soon realize they have the wrong man and begin looking for the man named Jijii who tipped them off in the first place. Soon enough Kakihara and his men encounter Ichi, a psychotic, sexually-repressed young man with amazing martial arts abilities and blades that come out of his shoes. One by one Ichi takes out members of the Yakuza and all the while Kakihara intensifies his pursuit of Ichi and Ichi's controller Jijii. What will happen as the final showdown happens between the tortured and ultra-violent Ichi and the pain-craving Kakihara? Written by
In 2001 Japanesse cult director Takashi Miike created one of the most unique and controversial movies ever to grace the screen. An adaptation of a manga with the same name, "Ichi The Killer" is a wild and crazy ride into the depths of human madness. As the movie creates its own parallel to our world where sexual violence and torture are common ways to express a character's emotional condition or thoughts.
Plotwise "Ichi The Killer" deals with an yakuza Kakihara (played by the diverse Tadanobu Asano) who along with his underlings starts a search for his missing boss. At the same time he finds himself chased by a mysterious assassin known only as Ichi. Kakihara's methods of extracting information become a similar sight throughout the film, with him torturing anyone that could know something about his boss.
The movie is presented as a dark comedy that feels more like a parody of humanity's most dark and hidden desires. With every character representing a sick and twisted version of a certain established type of behavior found in modern society. From the abused, passive and sexually inactive male being transformed into a crying psychopatic murderer whose's only excitement comes from seeing (or causing) massive displays of violence and rape (Ichi). To the violent gangster stereotype further villainized with the character of Kakihara whose never ending need to inflict pain to others or to himself has left him void to any other forms of arouse or emotion. Miike goes so far that he criticizes women in Japan for their often seen submissive behavior by introducing a more independent persona with the character of Karen, a notably western influenced person, her need to cause pain nearly borders Kakihara's.
The violence itself is presented in such an obscenely over-exaggerated way that one can not help but laugh at some of the situations created by it. Make no mistake this movie is definitely no kiddie ride, and people who can't stand horror or alternative films have no place in watching this. Miike has gone so far in this that even the title introduction in the begging is going to shock you. He also succeeds in creating a very dreamlike feel to the movie. More nightmarish than dreamlike actually. The finale itself is shockingly absurd with the two main characters "battling" it out from a third person's perspective.
A special note should be made concerning the movie's soundtrack. Whose unique use of completely different and diverse from each other sounds and styles fits with the film's own meddling in cinematic genres.
There is really no second like "Ichi The Killer" Takashi Miike created an original work that could disgust many but could also amaze any of those people who are searching for something more untraditional.
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