Friday, March 11, 2011

Captured And Enraptured

Big Bang Love, Juvenile A(2006)

Directed By Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike considers, "Big Bang Love: A Juvenile Love Story of 4.6 Billion Years", his masterpiece, and while certainly his most intellectually and aeshetically challenging work to date, it falls a tad short, of it's epic aspirations.

For a "love story" there's very little sex, love, affection, or romantic notions of any sort, but what is present is an unstated attraction/interest between the two main characters (one of the characters is apparently sexually assaulted by another man at the gay bar where he works, and his subsequent revenge on this man is the reason for his imprisonment, but it's never shown on screen.)

Had the cover not mentioned "homo-eroticism" the sexuality of the characters would be impossible to tell for a good deal of the movie, or at least no more so than any prison film.

That being said, this is really more of a murder mystery whose end is predictable early on.

However Miike as grown as a director (as he does often making two or three films a year), and this time around the film takes place on empty stage like sets with only one or two objects in place, like a piece of absurdist/minimalist theater.

There's even an opening interpretive dance sequence, which though beautiful ranks up there with Miikes greatest WTF moments, as do a few quirky others.

A continuous and walking contradiction some of Miike's scenes resemble a Germen expressionist "Dogville" in their in their simultaneous boldness and sparseness.

There is also subtle use of special effects here, a small animated image of a man trying to escape and being burnt to a crisp, a computer generated impossibly colored sky, and the reoccurring images of the space ship and the ancient temple (the paths within and without?).

All of the bargain basement effects which Miike has utilized in the past, are integrated well here, from out of nowhere fight scenes, to awkward muted comedic moments of intimacy.

So while the story alternates between aggression and tenderness somewhat oddly, the visual aesthetics of the movie, fill the screen and the eye with both space and discreet details (otherwise this probably be a two star affair, ratings wise.)

If you like Takashi Miike movies, at their most experimental (Gozu, Izo, etc), this is essential viewing, or if you happen to be interested in abstract, vaguely philosophical, prison love, sci-fi, murder mysteries....and who isn't?

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