7.9/10
5,228
33 user 58 critic

Vengeance Is Mine (1979)

Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 17 October 1979 (USA)
Chronological exploits of Iwao Enokizu, a murderous thief on the run.

Director:

Shôhei Imamura

Writers:

Masaru Baba (screenplay), Ryûzô Saki (novel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
21 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Life story of a woman born in poverty trying to succeed. Through her many schemes, she faces her ups and downs in a cyclical nature, fueled mostly by self-interest.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A housewife living under her tyrannical husband has her life stressfully turned upside down after getting raped by a burglar.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Masumi Harukawa, Kô Nishimura, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization that is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

While avoiding the mob and local authorities, a world-weary pornographer finds being a family man the most difficult as he wrestles with his own desires and afflictions.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shôichi Ozawa, Sumiko Sakamoto, Keiko Sagawa
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Tonpei Hidari
The Eel (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baishô
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An engineer from Tokyo arrives on a drought-ridden tropical island to drill a well to power a nearby sugar mill. He meets the inbred Futori family, hated by the locals for breaking religious customs.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Chôichirô Kawarasaki, Hideko Okiyama
Black Rain (1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A down-and-out businessman travels to a seaside town, where he meets a woman with unusual sexual powers.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baishô
Why Not? (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shigeru Izumiya, Kaori Momoi, Masao Kusakari
Zegen (1987)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Ken Ogata, Mitsuko Baishô, Chun-Hsiung Ko
Pale Flower (1964)
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A gangster gets released from prison and has to cope with the recent shifts of power between the gangs, while taking care of a thrill-seeking young woman, who got in bad company while gambling.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Ryô Ikebe, Mariko Kaga, Takashi Fujiki
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata Ken Ogata ... Iwao Enokizu
Rentarô Mikuni Rentarô Mikuni ... Shizuo Enokizu
Chôchô Miyako Chôchô Miyako ... Kayo Enokizu
Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô ... Kazuko Enokizu
Mayumi Ogawa Mayumi Ogawa ... Haru Asano
Nijiko Kiyokawa Nijiko Kiyokawa ... Hisano Asano
Taiji Tonoyama ... Tanejirô Shibata
Gorô Tarumi Gorô Tarumi ... Daihachi Baba
Moeko Ezawa Moeko Ezawa ... Chiyoko Hata
Kazuko Shirakawa Kazuko Shirakawa ... Sachiko Yoshizato
Furankî Sakai ... Inspector Kawai
Torahiko Hamada Torahiko Hamada ... Agent Yoshino
Yasuhisa Sonoda Yasuhisa Sonoda ... Inspector assistant Kuwata
Akira Hamada Akira Hamada ... Detective Ichikawa
Kazunaga Tsuji Kazunaga Tsuji ... Detective Kuchiishi
Edit

Storyline

Iwao Enokizu is a middle-aged man who has an unexplainable urge to commit insane and violent murders. Eventually he is chased by the police all over Japan, but somehow he always manages to escape. He meets a woman who runs a brothel. They love each other but how long can they be together? Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

17 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vengeance Is Mine See more »

Filming Locations:

Beppu, Kyushu, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Listed under Roger Ebert's "Great Movies." See more »

Quotes

Shizuo Enokizu: You can only kill those who never harmed you.
See more »

Connections

Version of Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Vengeance Is Mine: Judgement is GOOD
17 October 2010 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

Vengeance Is Mine marked Shôhei Imamura's return to fiction filmmaking after a decade spent working on documentaries. It is based on the true case of Nishiguchi, a Japanese criminal who eluded police for 78 days while committing five murders. The novel from which the screenplay was taken changed the name of the anti-hero to Iwao Enokizu and fictionalized real events. By providing a 'halfway house' between complete invention and real crime reporting, the source thus gave Imamura an ideal stepping-stone back into feature films: retaining the support of documentary inspiration whilst allowing the director to bring his personal vision and structuring to the events unfolding on screen.

Modern viewers are long used to a diet of slaughterer cinema, whether it be the Eileen Wuornos depicted in Monster, Albert Fish of The Grey Man, or much less illustrious fodder as Bundy, and Ed Gein. But even after 25 years, Vengeance Is Mine remains one of the few outstanding mass-murderer screen biographies. Told through a series of flashbacks, Imamura's film suggests by its structure both the disassociations of a killer's mind as well as reducing any empathy between creator and lead figure.

Thus we see Enokizu's story in five different time periods or points of view: first, during his final arrest and in police custody; then during the police investigation itself; while the killer is committing his crimes and escaping from the law; fourthly, his life before his crimes. Finally there's a scene or two occurring after the execution.

By recounting the various stages in a killer's life in non-linear fashion, interesting juxtapositions are possible, all the while dramatic tension between crimes is disrupted. We know that the murderer will have his way and the opening shows us he has been caught. The script's treatment of the material means suspense is removed from events, instead placed at a psychological level, i.e. not on how Enokizu builds to a killing and, presumably, hopes to get away with it, but why he does.

But as critic Alex Cox has said: "there are no easy answers" found in a movie much more oblique in its presentation than Hollywood might attempt. Indeed, for the most part, Enokizu's crimes seem to have no overwhelming motive at all (apart from the need for survival money), although deep at the heart of his compulsive behaviour is his bitter relationship with his father. And as Cox further observes, although Vengeance Is Mine headlines a biblical source, ("vengeance is mine, I shall repay sayeth the Lord") it is not absolutely clear in the film on who, or what, Enoziku is wreaking vengeance on.

If providence is interested in exacting justice by turn, bringing a necessary come-uppance, its mainly represented by two or three shots over the course of a film, suggestive of a hangman's noose - much more man's law than heavenly retribution. This, while Enokizu is caught and punished, such critical moments (commonplace set pieces in such western killer-centered films such as In Cold Blood) are not even shown. Vengeance Is Mine leaves precise moments of apprehension and execution to our imagination. Instead it shifts focus onto a fractured criminal career of mayhem, familial confusion, and casual sex.

Enoziku's father, Shizuo, is a complicated figure who stands as much at the centre of the narrative as does his son. Shamed during the war by refusing to stand up to the requisitioning authorities (a traumatic event witnessed by his son) he later develops a close relationship with Enokizu's wife. Although we presume not consummated, this attraction is a continuing source of great friction. But as Shizuo admits, another tie binds them as: "the blood of the devil runs in my blood too." At the end of the film it is left to Shizuo, a Catholic, to feel the guilt his son never expresses, and undergo excommunication as he arranges to be buried away from his wife in final penance. Critics have argued that Enoziku's murderous career is ultimately inspired by a lack of ability to kill his own father, and this failure is what motivates in turn his rage against others. Shizuo certainly recognises this weakness in murder during a final confrontation between the two, and it represents Enoziku's only regret.

With many of its characters drawn from the working classes and a preoccupation with sex, Vengeance Is Mine is a film entirely characteristic of its director, even after a decade long hiatus in his feature career. Like Mizoguichi before him, he often concerned himself with fallen or distressed women in his movies and here they are, represented once again. Imamura had also been a black marketeer in his early years, and was quite at home depicting the underbelly of society, whether it be the sleazy family inn at which Enoziku finds himself, the casual nature of the call-girls brought to its door or the fact that grandmother (herself a killer) watches intimate proceedings through a peep-hole.

Enoziku adapts the identity of a university professor during his stay at the inn, and elsewhere a lawyer (filching thereby an amount of money saved for a parole payment). Both outwardly upstanding and hunted at the same time, the criminal hides his culpability beneath a respectable façade. As with the rest of the film, the director's distancing allows no judgement on this state of affairs, merely showing Enoziku's illusion as convincing. Instead it leaves the anti-hero and his actions in a limbo, dependent on our own moral standpoint. Like the murderer's bones, thrown into the sky at the close, matters are suspended between heaven and hell, requiring further investigation.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed