In this recent effort from Takashi Miike, Ryuhei Matsuda and Masanobu Ando star as two young men imprisoned for a pair of unrelated murders on the very same day. But while their crimes and punishments match the two men couldn't be any more different. Matsuda's Jun a meekly asexual gay-bar employee who went into a bloody frenzy following a sexual assault, while Ando's Shiro is a hyper-aggressive, thoroughly tattooed repeat offender who would rather talk with his fists than his tongue. They seem an unlikely pair, but Jun seems to be the only inmate Shiro will even tolerate, the strong fighter frequently rising unbidden to his quiet companion's defense. How then to explain it when Jun is discovered throttling Shiro's still-warm corpse?
A legitimate cult icon, Miike continues to amaze with his restless ability to continually re-invent himself. Though very different in terms of setting and degree of violence, Big Bang Love: Juvenile A plays almost as a companion piece to his recent Izo moving further down the line of experimentation and metaphysical questioning begun in his hyper-violent, time hopping samurai film. Once again Miike has crafted a film that utterly rejects conventional narrative and film making conventions to instead try to break new ground while asking big questions about the destructive nature of humanity.
From the very opening shot, a clapboard clacking down to mark the start of a scene, Miike makes it clear that Big Bang Love will be a heavily artificial film. With its ultra-spare sets and dramatic lighting design comparisons to Von Trier's Dogville and Manderlay are inevitable but while the Dane stripped thing back in an effort to create a higher degree of intimacy and naturalism Miike is going for precisely the opposite effect, aiming for something highly theatrical and entirely artificial and creating an abstract language to address the never changing hostility of man against man. Spoken narration, experimental dance, recitations of poetry, extreme colour saturation, they are all tools in the palette Miike employs to create a thoroughly deconstructed, sci-fi tinted noir murder mystery.
“The ghosts of Brecht, Genet and Fassbinder haunt this tale… one of the most audacious entries in the director’s ever-expanding oeuvre” – Jason Alexander, EYE WEEKLY
Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Masa Nakamura, from Ikki Kajiwara, Hisao Maki
Cast: Ryuhei Matsuda
Producers: Shiro Sasaki, Takeshi Watanabe