Himizu DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Himizu
Reviewed by
Simon Black
on
Himizu DVD Review A solid supporting cast which includes Sono mainstays Yuriko Yoshitaka and the ever-intense Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish) lends further weight to proceedings, and if Himizu isn’t Sono’s finest work
Rating:
3.75

Feature 7.5
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 7.5
Total 7.5
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Genre: Drama
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: MA15+

7.5

 
Himizu

A mother plotting to kill her only daughter, a teenage couple who express their affection by slapping each other in the face, a murderer with a Third Reich obsession, parents who go missing for weeks on end and leave their children to fend for themselves - nothing feels strange anymore in the world evoked by Sion Sono. 

Like his singularly prolific countryman Takeshi Miike, Sono has flirted with numerous genres throughout his career, though regardless of theme or subject matter a number of recurrent themes tend to crop up in most of his pictures: emotionally and physically abusive parental figures, unwanted children, madness, lawlessness and criminality, revenge, figures on the fringes of society being called on to perform life-changing acts.  All of these are present in spades in Himizu, though whereas his characters once felt challenging now they are tending more towards clichéd archetypes - loopy yakuza, witchy schoolgirls, philandering fathers, patricidal youths, women as sluts, schemers and psychotics and little else in between - there seemingly being little outside these extremes for Sono to draw from when concocting his storylines. 

All things considered, however, Himizu is a strong work and a worthy follow up to 2011’s excellent Guilty of Romance, and the perennial Sono zaniness is buoyed by some astonishingly cogent performances from the film’s two young leads.  Set in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and based on the manga by Minoru Furuya, the story revolves around two outcast teens and their stumbling attempts to derive hope and meaning from their loveless and frequently violent lives.  Actress and model Fumi Nikaido is simply brilliant as the schoolgirl with an unrequited crush on the film’s protagonist, abandoned and disillusioned dropout-turned-murderer Sumida - in addition to winning the Best Newcomer Award at the Venice International Film Festival Nikaido carries the film through some of its wilder flights of fancy, imbuing her role with a levity and passion that are rare in an actress of any age, let alone one of her tender years. 

A solid supporting cast which includes Sono mainstays Yuriko Yoshitaka and the ever-intense Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish) lends further weight to proceedings, and if Himizu isn’t Sono’s finest work - problems of characterisation aside it feels overlong at two and a quarter hours, and in spite of the length some of the subplots are left frustratingly underdeveloped - it is another daring and thought-provoking outing from a director who seems hellbent on breaking the mold. 

Bonus Features

In addition to the usual trailers there is a feature-length Making Of which is one of the best we’ve ever seen.  Plenty of interview footage, shots of Sono at work during shooting, writing and rehearsal, behind the scenes footage, factual titbits and insider info - it’s a really interesting watch, and neatly evinces the working methods of a director at the top of his game.






 
 



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