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.
As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.
In order to settle a business dispute, a mob leader murders one of his own teenage sons. The surviving son vows to avenge his brother's death, and organizes his own gang of teenage killers to destroy his father's organization.
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"
Miike Takashi's `Katakuri-ke no Koufuku' is a wonderfully bizarre black comedy musical highly reminiscent of the music videos and live concert performances staged by the now-defunct 80s & 90's J-pop powerhouse Kome Kome Club. Miike's choice of Sawada Kenji as Katakuri Masao further accentuates this similarity, since he strongly resembles K2C co-front man `Carl Smoky' Ishii Tatsuya. The somewhat unpolished song & dance routines (unlike K2C), along with episodic fits of overacting and self-depreciating man-on-a-wire work combine to create a totally off the wall mix of dark humour and Miike's trademark visual gross-outs.
In synopsis, Katakuri Masao is a downsized urbanite who stakes his family's livelihood on restoring a run-down country inn. Masao, along with wife Terue (Matsuzaka Keiko) and father Jinpei (Tamba Tetsuro) reel in their troubled son Masayuki (Takeda Shinji) and divorced daughter Shizue (Nishida Naomi) to create their family dream. But alas, location is everything, and without a major road nearby, the `White Lover's Inn' waits patiently sans customers. When guests finally do begin to arrive, the Katakuris find (through no fault of their own) that their guests have an annoying habit of dying. Not to be discouraged however, the Katakuris do their best to persevere as a family, and find time for a number of offbeat musical numbers in between.
The most irritating character was the second-rate con man Richard Sawada played by actor/singer Iwamano Kiyoshiro, who also played a deadbeat suitor in the TBS dorama, "Boku no Shusshoku". He actually does a fair job at speaking bad gaijin-sounding Japanese, and he's one of the only actors in the movie (to my knowledge) with a musical background. Oh, and the shot with him wearing the Oakley `OverTheTops' is pretty funny. One of the strangest elements to me (besides the opening claymation sequence) was the fact that the prologue & epilogue narratives were voiced in retrospect by the young grand daughter, for no apparent reason. Some reviewers point out the moralistic undertones of family values and such, but I suspect that even this was thrown in by Miike as part of a cold-cocked slap in the face with regards to anything being morally relevant in the film, or making sense for that matter.
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