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Review: Why Don't You Play In Hell?

A young movie crew, a child actress, and various Yakuza, some of which are more insecure than others, find their ways into each other’s world’s in the bloody, absurd, cinematic Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

It’s more grounded than a bizarre opening scene would have you believe, but this violent comedy from Japanese writer and director Shion Sono tells an entertaining and engrossing story, however much the excessive blood, the sudden camera zooms, and the melodramatic music suggest otherwise. Okay, well it’s not too grounded; after all, one of the opening sequences finds the child star Mitsuko return home to a house full of blood, sliding through the crimson mess to precociously address one of the infirmed perpetrators.

It’s a love story, an action adventure, a message about following dreams, a movie about making movies, and other tales of the absurd packed into just over two hours. Everyone in the film is in love, hopelessly in love, with something or someone. The Yakuza boss loves his starlet daughter, using all his power to get in into a movie. A rival Yakuza adores her from the first moment he laid eyes on her in the blood-soaked apartment. Meanwhile these rogue filmmakers (they have a fantastic name) wants nothing more than to make the greatest Japanese movie ever.

Our fierce heroine Mitsuko too, whose catchy toothpaste jingle will infect your mind for days, has a loving eye, but is also adept with a sword and does not hesitate to reign down blood. It seems though that everyone’s desires are beyond their reach, and our young protagonists are up against history, the government, and lack of imagination when it comes to making the film they want.

A film that finds a fascinating story about characters that want themselves to either make or be a part of their own fascinating stories comes an insanely dramatic and bloody finale, wildly ridiculous and utterly captivating. It’s mostly cartoonish though still engrossing, excessively violent yet entertaining, with both a bit of heart and an overt message about filmmaking in Japan. As the name suggests, Why Don’t You Play in Hell is weird and unforgettable.

[star v=3]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.