Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 85 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
Japanese movies have always been sort of feast or famine. Either they’re wildly original scare-fests or mindnumbingly dull plodding nightmares of incoherence. Very seldom are there just mundane Japanese movies, and “Screwed” will join the legacy. Sadly, it’s the negative legacy that will be “Screwed”s new home. Why, you ask? Well, it doesn’t help that the plot’s just north of incoherent. Basically, it’s a down on his luck cartoonist wandering Japan trying to sort his life out and generally doing a poor job of it. Occasionally, he stops to cadge free food, bum a place to stay, and bang a local girl or two.
I confess to having doubts about this movie going in. Whoever wrote the copy on the back of the box–you know, the copy that’s supposed to describe the plot?–seemed to be more interested in blowing Teruo Ishii’s ego than actually telling anyone what the movie was about. And worse yet, there’s a quote from Quentin Tarantino on the box art that says “”Teruo Ishii is a fantastic director, a great director! I love Teruo Ishii.” When all the box copy can do is rave about Teruo Ishii, it doesn’t bode well for the actual movie.
Speaking of things we know nothing about, the first five minutes will qualify for that. I think he’s going for some kind of weird insect / hive allegory using hot mostly naked Japanese chicks and various contortionists but i’m really not that sure. Oh, and the shot’s overtoned in orange. Which makes the dialogue that follows all the more relevant when our cartoonist hero says “I’m so confused. I have a lot of new ideas but I can’t put them together.” You and me both, buddy. You and me both.
In fact, that’s a pretty good representation of the entire movie. A lot of new ideas with no clear thread to put them all together. And then we blow the last twenty minutes on a giant hallucination brought about by a delicate combination of blood loss and jellyfish venom. Which, frankly, we did not need. There was already a light metric ton of weird in this movie already. The last thing it needed was twenty minutes of hallucination.
Japanese movies. They freak me out. All in all, I’m not sure what I just blew all this time watching, but I’m beginning to doubt it was a movie. There was no plot here, not much character development, and nothing all that exciting about it. If you want a waste of time that’ll freak you out as much as it did me, then this unsettling little gem is for you.
Posted on April 13, 2007 in Reviews by Steve Anderson
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