AKA Gozu: Yakuza Theater of Horror
2003, 2 hrs 9 min. / Directed by Takashi Miike / Toei Video


Yakuza member Ozaki becomes unreliable due to his dangerous hallucinations (as his early assassination of a "Yakuza attack dog" poodle proves early on). The group's head boss assigns Ozaki's friend and Yakuza confidant Minami the unfortunate task of secretly escorting the dillusional gang leader to a "disposal" site in Nagoya. An unfortunate accident on the road where Ozaki attempts to fend off a "yakuza attack car" derails the trip and causes Minami to take refuge in the nearest cafe, at which time Ozaki promply vanishes. Minami finds himself adrift in a strange backwood full of gangsters who hang out in junkyards, store owners who read their replies off visible cue cards and a suspicious hotel whose milk-producing owners may just be the key to this entire crooked mystery. After the usual swirl of Miike narrative, any expectations eventually get flushed into the Gozu's ghost-ridden gutter in an ending which proves that the "birth" of some new friendships can be very painful (and disgusting).

Miike draws heavy upon the rural oddities of David Lynch in creating his world of Gozu, a land somewhere between the crossroads of mythical Japanese folklore and modern biologically-correct grue. If his films don't exactly make sense on a conscious level they're more of an exercise in perfect rythmic congruity much like the work of Lynch. Both of these director's don't splatter images in a random matter like some post-modern madlib but rather design perfect series of weird geometric puzzles which tend to haunt certain audience members and offend others. Such is the life of a puzzle maker however, as Rubik probably never managed to make all of his customers happy and neither can these guys. Call it a spectacle for spectacle's sake or a project fit for abortion; either way I think Takashi Miike has his cake and eats it to. Only Takashi's cake is covered in human eyes that blink at him.