on 8 October 2008
This film had me on the edge and that's a good thing. I personally think `Imprint' plays out like a dozen Takashi Miike movies rolled into one. On the visual side, this is possibly his most polished film to date, and is one of the better looking Masters of Horror episodes. More art than splatter, the style of Imprint has more in common with Miike's segment in Three... Extremes, with gorgeous cinematography, lighting and framing that most of the Masters of Horror episodes were sadly lacking.
This episode tells the haunting tale from the 1800s of American journalist, Christopher (Billy Drago), who travels to an island in Japan in search of the prostitute, Komomo (Michie) who he had abandoned years earlier, promising to return for her. Finding himself unable to locate Komomo, he takes residence in a bordello, where he hires the services of a deformed hooker (Youki Kudoh), but instead of taking her for carnal pleasures, he asks her to tell him a story, and so, she recounts to him the fate of his beloved Komomo, and so begins a story of rape, torture and degradation...
Again it's beautifully shot, Imprint at times is like watching a painting come to life. The flame haired whores with their blackened teeth take on the appearance of oni or evil spirits, who live on islands and take much delight in the torture of others. Miike's ability to take the obtusely sickening and turn it into an image of beauty is a gift that few directors have. What irk me about this film is Drago. He gives an amateurish over-the-top performance that drew a few laughs from me, as he thinks he's in a Greek tragedy and stands out in all the wrong ways with his acting (though he look good for the part in his long hair). The rest of the actors were fine in fact most of the actors are great helps a lot as well since they bring a lot of credibility to the story, because believe me, without strong actors, this story could have been ridiculous.
I'm positive that very few people could have directed this movie as well as Miike did and I'm sure that most horror fans will just love this episode. It really is a shame that it never made it to the TV-screens as it is my favorites Masters Of Horror episode from Season 1.
An American (Billy Drago), who could have been played by a mannequin, searches for a prostitute with whom he had once fallen in love. (I can't imagine any squeeze being that good. And if it out there, I don't want to find it.) He hires a different girl on an island of prostitutes and demons (although we don't see much of the later). She tells him various stories about his lost girlfriend being dead. The torture scenes of needles being inserted under the finger nails and into the gums were very intense. The movie contains slight nudity (Japanese girls are not well endowed in this flick) and abuse and beating of women.
on 28 January 2014
A nasty little (63 minute) offering from Takeshi Miike it appears to be simply a crude exercise in gross-out without any discernible redeeming features. As it says in the blurb, in 19th Century Japan an American journalist (played very unconvincingly by Billy Drago) is journeying through the country's brothels (there's an epic task if ever there was one) looking for a prostitute he got the hots for a couple of years ago. Crossing a river full of the floating corpses of pregnant hookers he comes across a particularly sordid & disreputable whore-house on a desolate island in the middle of nowhere & talks to a facially dis-figured harlot who claims to have known our adventurer's ex-lover.
She tells him the story of what happened to his loved one & of her demise under torture, & when he says he doesn't believe her she tells him a different story, with more torture. She then tells him of her own squalid life as the sexually abused deformed daughter of incestuous abortionist beggars & when he tells her he doesn't believe her she tells him a different story etc. etc. etc. All very fabricated to enable Miike to elaborate on his themes of torture-porn in one story & incest, rape & aborted foetuses in the other. All very edifying.
And, unbelievably, in this 19th Century primitive hell-hole bordello of bestially inhuman practices in the remotest corner of Japan, everybody speaks (bad) English. I won't go into any more detail but I doubt the claim on the DVD cover that this is "completely uncut & uncensored". Scenes fade to black at inappropriate times, there are inexplicable jump-cuts & continuity is often jerky like footage has been chopped. Oh, & some of the special effects are laughable.
I know that it would be unreasonable to expect Miike to produce films of the seminal calibre of "Audition" every time, but I don't think that he's invested much of his usual touch of genius into this one. I'm giving it an "Okay" star rating but that's poor for Miike.