|Index||3 reviews in total|
From controversy to convention, Miike is a chameleon director that
lives for being on the movie set and breathes cinema. Always ready for
change and experimenting, he has however remain somewhat in the
sub-genre that he almost single-handedly created. Seemingly someone
with a strong character, he says in Montmayer's "Electric Yakuza, Go to
Hell! (2003)" that he needs to control himself more and that in two
years he would be a different person. A champion for diversity and
growth, Miike switches here from his subversive, shocking, frenetic
films he is known for to a slow, thoughtful, subdued drama... and he
does so very well.
Sun Scarred is a modern drama about personal grief and anger as well as a societal commentary on youth violence and current lax legislation. The movie reaches you in many level and, as much as the acting and storyline carries you through, the director's choices are obviously what holds it together along the way. For example, I have rarely seen the use of Black&White in film used so appropriately to convey a character's inner feelings. Visually, the camera is often far away, unmoving and static like the feelings that the main character feels. This numb unfeeling is subtly mixed with a profound revengeful hate and the fluctuating balance is quite well expressed and achieved.
I would say the the first half of the movie definitely holds the better part story-wise as some of the plot makes a bit of an unnecessary mess at some point before the denouement. However, the ending is fitting and strategically rewarding. It cumulates on what the movie had been slowly and successfully weaving. A script a little more tight at parts or some inventive editing in the second half might have giving it extra strength, but there is nothing really bad here either.
Not a perfect movie, but a undoubtedly powerful one. A mature Miike that has something to say. A pleasant surprise to find the part in him that is simple and sensible. This is sure to give this popular director new depths and respect as opposed to hype and curiosity.
Miike is like a chameleon, but no ordinary one. While a chameleon
changes color to blend in with his environment, Miike only sticks out.
He has no fixed style, no typical characteristics, but still manages to
make every film like a director with a unique style. He's like 4, 5,
maybe 6 authors in one. Sun Scarred is one of his latest films, and
even though it's the 45th Miike film I've seen, it's still very
difficult to compare it to his other work.
I believe Sun Scarred is the first Miike film I've watched that strives for a certain level of credibility. Though thematically related to films like Fudoh and even Battle Royale, Miike's take on the subject is a lot more down to earth. It's bleak setup and subdued emotion make it all the more scary.
Miike regular Aikawa is leading the film, playing a father who's about to lose a lot. Though his actions might've been just, he ends up on the cover of every news paper, labeled as a criminal. Set up by a gang of juvenile delinquents, his battle for justice is one he cannot win as his opponents are firmly protected by the law. When the gang leader is back on his feet after hardly two years of doing time, Aikawa returns to get some answers.
While this could've easily turned into a simple revenge flick, Miike pursues a different approach. He puts the viewer right in between Aikawa and the gang leader, trying to raise sympathy for both, making it pretty hard to choose between the two of them. Miike actually puts forward a pretty big moral dilemma, again something not often seen in his films.
Visually his film is bleak and cold, even shifting to a silent black and white intermezzo at one point. From time to time a little sloppy in the details, but overall a pretty nice looking film with a couple of scenes that deserve extra praise. It's clear that Miike is constantly improving himself as a director, as a couple of years ago a film like this from his hands would've looked cheap and sleazy.
The sound design is even better, with brooding and dark ambient tones in the key scenes, making them quite scary en menacing at times. Something that helps both the atmosphere and the credibility of the film. All of this aids to establish an atmosphere which is quite uncomfortable to sit through.
Maybe Miike waited this long to make a film like this because the bleak outlook and styling really call for a different style of direction. His weirdness and wicked ideas would've felt out of place in Sun Scarred, and it's a good thing he's well aware of that. Even though the ending isn't as dark as it could've been, at that point the film has already settled in well enough and all points have come across.
Probably the scariest film Miike has ever made, though this is clearly no horror flick. Part drama, part subdued revenge, which a big finger pointing at the passive attitude of many instances and people in this film, the film impresses until the very end. It's not Miike's best, I still have a bigger soft spot for his weird stuff, but it's typical that he can pull off a film like this right out of the blue. The man's got talent, we probably just have to wait another 30 years before it will be widely recognized. 4.0*/5.0*
Takashi Miike's Taiyô no kizu/Sun Scarred (2006) is a more narratively
conventional film than some of the directors previous films. Here the
characters live in a recognisable and realistic world.
The film is very entertaining and engrossing. It is also quite creepy because our "hero" experiences the desensitisation to violence and its consequences by a younger generation.
There are some Takashi visual flourishes in Taiyô no kizu/Sun Scarred but they only add to the narrative drive of the story. The performances are all excellent across the board.
A solid, if slightly conventional, movie from Takashi Miike.
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