Gozu – Japan, 2003 – overview and reviews

 

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Gozu – 極道恐怖大劇場 牛頭 GOZU Gokudō kyōfu dai-gekijō: Gozu, literally: “Yakuza Horror Theatre: Cow’s Head” – is a Japanese cult film directed by Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) and written by Sakichi Sato. It stars Hideki Sone and Show Aikawa.

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When senior yakuza Ozaki (Sho Aikawa) starts to behave in an increasingly peculiar manner, his superiors start getting worried, and order Ozaki’s immediate underling Minami (Hideki Sone) to get rid of him.

On the way to the yakuza disposal dump, Minami, nervous about the job ahead of him, hits the brakes too hard and kills Ozaki completely by accident.

After he stops to find a telephone to report the incident to his boss, he returns to the car to find that Ozaki’s body has vanished.

So begins a desperate and increasingly un-hinged search that takes in a bizarre array of eccentric and deranged suburbanites, each of whom seems to reflect some weird, dark aspect of Minami’s complex and troubled personality…

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Structurally, Gozu is a succession of bizarre scenes sandwiched between a storyline involving Minami’s search for his Yakuza brother Ozaki in a small town, that is reminiscent of the episodic quests in Greek Mythology. Minami’s encounter with a minotaur-like creature gives the film its name (Gozu is Japanese for cow’s head).

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“From the opening yakuza attack dog showdown to the jaw-dropping vaginal finale, you’d be very hard pressed to find anything remotely resembling this celluloid monstrosity anywhere in your local neighborhood video store. Miike, bending genres like cheap dollar store licorice, gently toys with your misshapen head before effectively splitting it open and visually ejaculating all over that blistered meat wad you call a brain.” The Film Fiend

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“Overall, Gozu is an excellent film, which comes highly recommended to more open-minded fans of the director or cinema in general. Although slowly paced and confusing in places, this is a wonderfully surreal and surprisingly intelligent road movie which is both disturbing and oddly touching.” Beyond Hollywood

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“Nothing I can say will really prepare you for this film. Fans of Miike’s work will have an idea of what to expect the rest of you get ready for something you’ve never seen before. Thiis is a skilfully made and thoroughly unique movie which constantly challenges the viewer and you may have considerable difficulty purging the warped surrealism from your mind.” Celluloid Dreams

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