With the help of Tom Mes's book, Agitator- the cinema of Takashi Miike, I have been able to discover all of the directors films and plow through watching them all. The likes of Ichi the killer, Audition and Dead or alive has painted a bloody picture about the cinema of Miike and their explorations of violence, sex and a whole bunch of other taboos. Yet for all their excesses and their surreal, dizzying attraction, its films like Young Thugs- Innocent Blood that kind of, puts these ideas into perspective by making a straight drama, which allows you to take a step back and actually see where these crazy themes blossom from.
Young Thugs, takes place in 70's Osaka, where school friends, Riichi, his girlfriend Ryoko and mates Yuji and Kotetsu celebrate their last day at school by going on a rampage of violent pranks. It's all fun and games but it can only spiral downwards from their, when Riichi is unfaithful to Ryoko. As the reality of life kicks in, they have to start working out what they're going to do for the rest of their lives.
Violence in this film is presented as a childhood past time. Fighting is celebrated as an act of immaturity. The punches dont really hurt and there are no consequences because as soon as violence is seen as harmful or ugly, thats when their innocence is lost and the serious adult world is embraced, they express a fear of growing up. These themes and the way that they are instrumented with a strongly loving and personalised direction from Miike is fascinating. The soft and warm cinematography compliments the detailed world of the 70's Osaka, created only by someone with a deep personal connection with the time and place.
It's an 18 rated coming of age comedy drama, with lots of fighting- you really wont see this kind of film anywhere else. A fine example of varied, boundless world cinema by the master, Takashi Miike.