A yakuza enforcer is ordered to secretly drive his beloved colleague to be assassinated. But when the colleague unceremoniously disappears en route, the trip that follows is a twisted, surreal and horrifying experience.
A pioneer of a man convinces his family to take advantage of news of a road soon to be built through an area of the country that can be had for next to nothing. He, his aging, but wise father, his loving and loyal wife, along with a slow-to-persuade son and a divorced daughter with toddler in hand who also happens to be the narrator, bravely move out to this new space and open a bed and breakfast. They make the place everything anyone could want, as they have so much time to work on it, since no one is making reservations to stay there. Eventually, the customers come...but each one dies while in their room and the family is trying to get rid of the evidence a.s.a.p so as not to ruin their reputation before they even get up and running. One thing leads to another and the bodies have to be moved. Written by
Natalie D. Roberts "sonta_en"
Gangster films, horror, surrealism, children's movies, science fiction, artsy dramas... Miike has some serious range & work ethic, that's the big meme about him outside his perceived ick/wtf factor. Exploration is healthy, but specialization is what leads to growth and quality--sadly, the director is not in his element with Happiness. If I wasn't already aware Miike directed it, I wouldn't have guessed it. His highly natural, meditative eye, his guerrilla-like rejection of big budget gloss, his ability to conjure up that much-sought after druggy, hallucinogenic vibe without feeling forced; nearly everything that marks him as an interesting, essential director is absent in this big, loud dumb musical. Its genre alone seems to be the main appeal for this new breed of lifestyle ironist outsider wannabes--"it's a MUSICAL with ZOMBIES and BLOOD and stuff! Isn't that WEIRD?!"--but Miike plays it so uncharacteristically straight and prosaically that there's very little to talk about besides a little black humor and claymation.
Thematically it's just Ozu for generation Y, full of Little Miss Sunshine-type "bittersweetness" and pseudo-transgressive concepts of turning death into a celebration of life. The songs aren't even very good, and have exactly the kind of contrived self-aware bombast you'd expect from a musical. A pretty mediocre movie, and an aimless one at that: it's at once a pander to general acceptance and a "weird, rule- breaking" film that doesn't break any rules.
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