Pssst, want to check out Koroshiya 1 in our new look?
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If you haven't seen Takashi Miike's most famous film, think long and hard if it's for you before you give it a go. As far as violence, sex and misogyny go, it's pretty sickening. How it gets away with it at all is part of its attracting, and I think due to Miike keeping a balance between the real and the cartoonish. It is based on a manga, after all, and reads like an extreme yakuza-superhero hybrid where the villain is a sado-masochistic version of the Joker and the hero a naive and pathetic mix between Kickass and Wolverine. It's the most perverse love story, in a sense, as the villain is drawn to Ichi because he needs an opposite and equal. Along the way, plenty of harrowing torture porn and gore, but Miike can't just give it to you straight and keeps you interested in the film through ambiguity. It's a motive force here. Who is manipulating these characters? What motivates them? What does this effect or this editing choice say about the scene? How should we interpret the ending? So yes, you'll see repugnant things you didn't think you'd ever see in a movie, but it may also be a satisfying and thought-provoking aesthetic experience. Which I'm always game for.
Even though the violence is very over the top, it's a movie that really needs to be taken seriously, because it tells about manipulation of other people, which is and will always be a serious problem in our society.
And suddenly, it became cult :D
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #146 in A.V. Club's The New Cult Canon
This movie ranks #185 in Tom Vick's Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #440 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #450 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life