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Philosophy of a Knife (2008)

Not Rated  |  Video  |   |  Drama, Horror  |  8 July 2008 (USA)
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The true history of Japanese Unit 731, from its beginnings in the 1930s to its demise in 1945, and the subsequent trials in Khabarovsk, USSR, of many of the Japanese doctors from Unit 731. ... See full summary »



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Title: Philosophy of a Knife (Video 2008)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tetsuro Sakagami ...
The Officer #1
Tomoya Okamoto ...
The Officer #2
Yukari Fujimoto ...
The Female Nurse #1
Manoush ...
The Female Nurse #1 (voice)
Yumiko Fujiwara ...
The Female Nurse #2
Masaki Kitagava ...
The Female Nurse #3
Reiko Niakawa ...
The Female Nurse #4
Elena Romanova Probatova ...
The Favorite Girl (as Elena Probatova)
Tatyana Kopeykina ...
The Blond Girl with Toy Bear
Veronika Leonova ...
The Brunette Girl
Irina Nikitina ...
The Pregnant Girl
Dmitriy Skripnik ...
The Captured Airplane Pilot
Alyona Strebkova ...
The Dental Torture Girl
Vladimir Volodin ...
The Syphilis Experiment Man
Irina Zenkina ...
The Syphilis Experiment Girl


The true history of Japanese Unit 731, from its beginnings in the 1930s to its demise in 1945, and the subsequent trials in Khabarovsk, USSR, of many of the Japanese doctors from Unit 731. The facts are told, and previously unknown evidence is revealed by an eyewitness to these events, former doctor and military translator, Anatoly Protasov. Part documentary and part feature, the story is shown from the perspective of a young Japanese nurse who witnessed many of horrors, and a young Japanese officer who is torn between his sincere convictions that he is serving the greater purpose, and the deep sympathy he feels for an imprisoned Russian girl. His life is a living hell as he's compelled to carry out atrocious experiments on the other prisoners, using them as guinea pigs in this shocking tale of mankind's barbarity. "Philosophy of a Knife" is truly one of the most violent, brutal and harrowing movies ever made. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


God created heaven, man created hell


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

8 July 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Egy kés filozófiája  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(Unrated Director's Cut)

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Narrations for film were recorded in Birmingham (Great Britain) and New Rochelle (USA). See more »


Dead Before Born
Lyrics by Andrey Iskanov and Manoush
Music by Chris Vazquez
Performed by Cyanide Savior
Courtesy of NRC Music/Entertainment
played in the end credits
See more »

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User Reviews

you're better off gnawing your own appendages for better a quality entertainment and insight into the Japanese war atrociousness.
25 May 2012 | by (london) – See all my reviews

I am going to say now, as someone who disliked 'The Human Centipede' for the intended purpose and found it bad enough to be funny, you are better off watching that.

The movie is shot most probably on a DSLR in black and white. The conversion into black and white was unbearably Grey with obnoxious 'old film' effects. Overall the filming is very amateur, shaky and melodramatic. While there is a small handful of clever and interesting shots and overlays, most of them look pretentious and try-hard. Think 16 year old girl film project and windows movie maker.

The prisoners are all white females obviously cast from America's next top model, and a couple of Russian men. This is largely historically inaccurate considering in real life most of the prisoners were Chinese or Korean of all ages, not just a bunch of white hipsters. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE WHO THE F**K THOUGHT PUTTING MASCARA ON PRISONERS WAS A GOOD IDEA?

The acting itself was overall tacky and cringey to watch. The Asian nurse was the only decent actress, even then, her face is covered with a medical mask most of the time, and her makeup is far too modern, she has ipod headphones dangling out of her pocket in one scene, which is laughable. The cast of prisoners are healthy, white, middle class, attractive, plump, groomed and moody-teenage looking, this would be fine.. if you know.. they weren't supposed to be starving, suffering and psychologically disturbed war prisoners. It is beyond me why the producer thought he wanted the prisoners to look so prime and polished, I'm astounded to think that anyone with half a brain would think to have actresses with long brushed and shiny hair, perfect makeup (with absolutely no attempt in making them look tired or haggard)and plump curvy figures, cast in a film about some of the most malnourished and tormented prisoners of all time. The Asian male doctor looks like he's just stepped out of a Korean boy band, they could have at the very least styled his hair to look 1940's. Why is he wearing eyeliner?!

The entire cast are unconvincing and substandard actors. As a very squeamish person, i didn't even flinch. The gore was well produced in places, but the actors couldn't carry it. Screams of what was supposed to be agony looked like dodgy orgasms in some sort of soviet bdsm porn. The prisoners are calm and serene being led around. There is no kicking, struggle or fuss, not even the guards restraining them as they lead them to the operating room. They just lay down on the operating table compliantly, which is ridiculous.

There is a rape scene in the film that is just completely ridiculous and had me laughing at how poorly acted it was.

The whole film is poorly written and very historically inaccurate, therefore making it very difficult to believe. There is no way in hell a Japanese war doctor is going to flirt with a prisoner, i felt this was some sort of mockery , and absolutely out of place. I can see the director trying to write in some romance to make the movie ever-so-slightly less dull, but it was just utterly disrespectful to the rape victims of the real unit 713 and to a degree racially insensitive and ignorant of the well documented historic Japanese attitudes to foreigners. Other historic inaccuracies included sedation. The real Unit 713 preformed abortions and vivisection's without anesthetic, painkillers or any sort of sedation, this not only would have been much more interesting to see on screen, but made a world of difference in historical accuracy. Operations were also preformed laughably, doctors removing all sorts of organs like picking tomatoes out of a salad, while patients in pristine makeup look barely phased but let out the occasional girlish scream. Not even a drip of sweat on their faces or their lipstick smudging.

Props used, such as a toy baby are again laughable.

The only positive thing i can comment on is the well made opening credits and mixing of archive footage to trendy music.

The film is a massive waste of time overall, and you're better off gnawing your own appendages for better a quality entertainment and insight into the Japanese war atrociousness.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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