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I watched this movie few days ago and it is the first Sono Sion movie I have ever watched in cinema. The movie is quite funny with bloody scenes and mad characters (especially the film producer/director played by Hiroki Hasegawa) as Sono always does. You can say that the theme is actually about 35mm film and enthusiasm towards filmmaking (or in general pursuing dream). The thing that touches me (as non film geek) is that film encourage audience to get crazy for our dreams and wild out for it (I think at this point is quite similar to Love Exposure). I would recommend this movie to film lovers but in my viewpoint, this probably cannot really come close to Love Exposure.
The more movies of Sion Sono's that I see, the more I realize that he
is one of the greatest artists working today. It's a big claim and I
don't like to kiss ass, but the man is one of the few people working in
entertainment and art that sees through the current state of the world
and instead of criticizing it, he creates a stylish farce that
inspires, entertains, and breaks our balls for believing in what we do,
in the way we do. He challenges us in a playful way, that I believe is
more compelling than the other artists that attempt to do the same
thing through relating trauma in films that Hollywood seems to like
concerning war, disease, rags to riches to rags, etc...
The world is absurd because of the people in it. The characters. Of course this life is a saga, a tragedy, an adventure, a romance, but above all it is a chaotic mess filled with jokes and gore. Filled with weirdos that are completely out of place on this planet and weirdos that are even more in place.
I love Sion Sono's films and this one in particular lives up to what I love about them. This film gives me hope in the world. I won't spoil it for you. It's about yakuzas clashing with a film crew. It's about me and you. It's about you and me. Yakuzas and a film crew.
Beneath all my suffocating inhibitions, my inability to share my true
feelings, my fear of doing what it is that I really want to do
is a character somewhat akin to 'Hirata', in Sion Sono's 'Why Don't You
Play in Hell?'. Here is a ridiculous and frankly insane character a
wannabe film director (and leader of the 'F**k Bombers' cinema club)
who'll go to literally any length to realize his dreams and is not
remotely discouraged by his complete lack of accomplishments over the
past ten years. He's nuts, and yet my soul is frankly screaming for me
to live my life with the same liberated, unashamed, energetic, joie
d'vivre, that Hirata maintains in the face of it all
The spirit of the
Before Sion Sono was a filmmaker, he was part of a poetry collective called 'Tokyo GAGAGA', that took their poetry screaming into the streets. 'GAGAGA', Sono's explained, is the 'sound of the soul'. By that same token, I've often felt that Sion Sono's characters are the soul, personified: their actions are crazy, over-the-top, and usually comically violent they're not realistic, normal characters and yet I see my own soul realistically reflected in his characters, more strongly than anyone else's.
Like Kurosawa's 'Dreams', 'Why Don't You Play in Hell?' is autobiographical in the most uniquely and completely outlandish way. Hirata is Sono, from his early amateur filmmaking days, when he really did go round with his gang, calling themselves the F**k Bombers, playing Bruce Lee in the park, and being called an idiot by young children. That just about everything else in this movie is heavily fictionalized is pretty obvious, but just as Sono's characters don't reflect normal people, but capture their spirits, his story, if you consider it autobiographical, captures the spirit of his experience becoming a professional filmmaker. It's a movie about the spirit of movies, the spirit of filmmaking, and as Sono says, the 'love of 35mm'.
It's also about a yakuza turf war. And there's some romance as well: a meek boy falls in love with a girl after seeing her shove a piece of broken glass through another guy's cheek with her tongue, and shortly gets over his own shyness. The movie is a crazily-ridiculous breathlessly-paced action-comedy, capturing the same punk rock energy as Sono's Love Exposure, and it's his most polished-looking film yet. It's a lighter affair than most of the movies he made before the psycho-horrors and the Fukushima-dramas but it's no less good; it's thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and especially, everything after the F**k Bombers finally cross paths with the yakuza is pure genius.
It's a movie that had me laughing, had me tapping my feet to the music (all written and composed by Sono himself), and had me grinning cheek-to-cheek the whole way through. And, like Sono's very best movies (Hazard, Love Exposure), it might have even inspired me, to loosen my inhibitions a little bit.
Insane, maddening, deranged, maniacal & batshit crazy from the very
beginning to the very end, Why Don't You Play in Hell? is an intensely
entertaining, extremely enjoyable & ridiculously fun cinema from Sion
Sono that parodies a whole lot of things, is filled with frenzied
performances & is undoubtedly last year's funniest film.
Why Don't You Play in Hell? concerns an amateur film crew that films anything n everything but has been waiting for its big break for over a decade. Their moment arrives when they are hired by a yakuza boss who, despite being in the middle of a feud with another yakuza clan, wants to finish the film starring his daughter as soon as possible in order to screen it for his wife's homecoming.
Written & directed by Sion Sono, the film opens with a brief ad segment & from then on, only gets crazier as the story progresses. It parodies many different films from Enter the Dragon to Kill Bill, its humour goes in all places, characters are raving lunatics, performances are wild, music is awesome but it's still got a lot of heart which makes it an enjoyable watch.
On an overall scale, Why Don't You Play In Hell? is a commendable work of quality despite its unhinged production, is sensibly composed even though its storyline goes completely bonkers & is at its bloodiest best during the final act. Hilarious as hell, an irresistible fun ride & easily the most amusing works of the year, this absolute riot of laughter & craziness comes highly recommended.
Highs: It's tough to think of many films that can match the frenetic
energy and sheer awesomeness presented in Why Don't You Play in Hell.
This is a very passionate piece of work from director Sion Sono and one
that is made for film lovers. It's also one of the craziest movies I've
seen, filled with plenty of bloody stylized violence and twisted humor.
The premise might seem ridiculous but the story is packed with heart
and originality, making it a very captivating watch.
Lows: I mostly enjoyed the fast cuts and weird scene juxtapositions, but I felt there could have been more smooth editing too at times. The pacing is a bit uneven and while the final sequences are thrilling, they can get quite absurd.
Verdict: Now I realize why director Sion Sono is praised by so many. When it's all over, you just can't help but feel a strong urge to make a film! His unique directing style is vibrant and I can hardly wait to watch Love Exposure as it seems to be another bold, wickedly fun, epic and absorbing film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Loved it so much. I've seen almost every film from Sion Sono and I
think this is one of his best. This film depicts the passion for making
films and the charm of the 38mm vs the digital era and I felt so much
heart in it.
One of the most positive aspects of this film are the characters. Every single one of them is damn likable and interesting too. Somehow I could relate to one of the characters (the director), who reminded me of when I was younger and used to make short films with my friends for fun and had the dream that one day I would make something bigger. I'm sure a lot of film lovers felt this too. Mitsuko is Sion Sono's new super awesome character and there's even a Bruce Lee fanatic.
This film also reminded me a lot of Love Exposure (my all time favorite film) on how it encourages the audience to pursuit for their dreams, no matter how crazy the journey is. The fact that it used some of LE's soundtrack was a plus for me as well.
"Why Don't You Play in Hell?" was funny, bloody and touching and the final act was quite a mix of emotions making it easily my favorite film from 2013. The closing shot was genius. Sion Sono is the best director working today and this film is his love letter for film lovers.
In a deeper analysis regarding the finale (this contains spoilers):
It kept me thinking for days. One moment I was dying of laughter and the next moment I felt really sad when the characters got killed one by one. Also, when Muto (Mitsuko's father) told his daughter "I Love You." before they started filming, I felt that Sion Sono was saying that he loved making films, like his films were his children. The next moment when Mitsuko smiles to the fake director/boyfriend, and he smiles back to her I felt that Sono was trying to say that films (represented by Mitsuko) are an art that can get that kind of reaction back from the audience (represented by the fake boyfriend/director).
This film is also a slap in the face of commercial films (yeah I'm talking about 99% of yours Hollywood). Instead of going the easy way and make generic films just to make some noise and get some profit, the F*** Bombers waited 10 long years to make their masterpiece and even sacrificed themselves in order to accomplish their dream. Eventually one of the characters dropped this dream at some point, but the passion for film never really left him as he quit his job in order to do the film he always wanted. So yeah, it is also an inspiring story for young filmmakers that want to start a film career.
"This movie exists only to impress you."
Acclaimed Japanese director, Shion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club, Coldfish) has crafted a delirious and extremely over the top comedic action thriller which will surely impress audiences all around the globe. It's very difficult to try to write a review for a film like this that seems to be all over the place. It was a truly unique and crazy experience. At first it feels like the stories aren't related, but as the film progresses every single scene serves a purpose and it all comes together at the end. Sono is an artist and in this film we can see the passion he has with film. This is his love letter to 35mm filmmaking and he mixes several genres into one glorious experience. In a way it is similar to what Quentin Tarantino brings to his films. Over the top violent action sequences with a lot of fake CGI blood, a lot of humor thrown into the mix, and several movie references. Just like Tarantino referenced Bruce Lee in Kill Bill through Uma Thurman, there is a character here who also resembles Lee in his yellow and black uniform. However Sono doesn't follow a similar narrative structure as Tarantino and doesn't rely as much on the wise cracking dialogue. WDYPIH? has a very unique structure and it's hard to know what direction its heading at times because it seems to be all over the place. It is a crazy experience, but it is hard to resist. My only complaint is with the pacing of the film which at times seems to drag. I had fun with this movie, but I still found myself checking my watch once in a while. This could've been better if it was cut to around 90 minutes, but it is still a film I admire very much.
The film centers on a group of young film aficionados who dream and pray to the movie god that he allow them to make an epic film, but it is clear they aren't heading anywhere when ten years later all they've managed to do is make a one minute trailer. There is also a huge confrontation going on between two yakuza clans. The Kitagawa yakuza clan attacked the Muto yakuza clan at their leader's own home. Muto wasn't around, but his wife faced them off leaving a pool of blood behind. Due to the violent scene, the police never believed it was self defense and imprisoned Muto's wife for ten years. Their young daughter had a successful toothpaste commercial taken off the air as well due to the violent episode. Her dreams of becoming a successful actress were shattered by the removal of the commercial. The clans have declared a truce but as Muto's wife sentence is approaching its deadline war breaks out again between them. Muto must manage the confrontation while delivering on his promise to his wife of having her daughter become the star of a movie by the time she is released. He promises it will be epic and through fate he encounters these aspiring film aficionados who are given the perfect scenario to make the film they've been dreaming of making for the past ten years. Everything seems to be leading to an outrageously bloody conclusion as Muto plans to kill two birds with one stone.
Shine Sono's love and passion for Japanese cinema can be experienced here in this unique and extremely crazy love letter to film. It is over the top and full of energy, but it always remains imaginative. It is unlike any other film I've seen and manages to capture that nostalgic sense of a disappearing art form while remaining incredibly unique and energetic. This is an extremely violent and irreverent film, but it is so over the top that it never feels gory. It can become a bit tedious due to its long running time, but the ending fulfills and it is a film that will stick with you long after the credits role. The performances from Jun Kunimura as Muto, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi as Ikegami, and Itsuji Itao as Masuda stand out in this wacky and crazy film.
Tokyo gore with a hit of influence from Guy Richie.
It was the perfect midnight movie with such an over the top cartoonish violence about an Amateur filmmaker who stumbles upon the opportunity of a life time (or as he sees it, a gift from the film God) when a young man needs his help in making a movie after getting caught up with a Yakuza boss' daughter.
A series of events with a large ensemble cast that wove together perfectly.
This movie was strange but so entertaining I did not stop smiling throughout the whole thing
This was a movie made with great love for cinema. If you are a true
lover of film you'll greatly enjoy this film. The film has many
references, parodies and praise for other films you'll recognise which
adds to the fun. The music is excellent, a lot of it original, some
If you liked Kill Bill, your sure to like this, where as Kill Bill was like a love letter to Japanese cinema and culture coming from Tarantino, this is one coming right out of Japan....
The main appeal for this film is that it is lots of fun and you'll get the tone of the film very early on, which is the crazy off the wall humour which Japan specialises in. Its gloriously over the top, gory and funny and I was smiling the whole way through! Check it out!
Shion Sono, one of Japan's contemporary cult directors, makes a follow-up to cinephile hits like Suicide Club, Noriko's Dinner Table, Strange Circus, Hair Extensions, Love Exposure, Coldfish and Himizu. After The Land of Hope, his idiosyncratic sci-fi drama shot around the Fukushima disaster, the transgressive Sono makes another instant cult hit with Why Don't You Play in Hell? This definitely won't appeal to a mainstream audience and to be honest, at first I had quite some difficulties watching it myself. It all seems a bit over the top and because of that it felt amateuristic. On the other hand I suppose this is the authentic style Sono is known for. With some patience I endured the first half an hour. Once I got familiar with its peculiarities, irony, meta-references and subversive character, this film started to grow on me. Especially the part of the young movie team that has been procrastinating their film project for years; while this is more of a sideline to the story, Why Don't You Play in Hell? depends on it for its absurd climax. The only thing I couldn't get into was the over-the-top acting. Cool movie with a high DIY vibe, although not flawless.
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