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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Part documentary, part grisly reconstruction, this is an account of the Japanese atrocities perpetrated at Unit 731, where they subjected people to numerous barbaric acts in the name of science.
First off, Ishkanov is a genius.
His other films "Nails" and " Visions of Suffering" are ground breaking and surreal horror films,
This despite...
Published 3 months ago by JONESY

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Score One For The Russians...
If you're looking for a historically-accurate film that describes Unit 731 and the atrocities they unleashed upon the World (look them up, you won't thank me for it) then you won't find it here. This film and the similar "Men Behind The Sun" (same subject) are both exploitation films, pure and simple, using the ghoulish subject matter in order to show young people being...
Published on 11 Feb. 2010 by Brady Orme


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Score One For The Russians..., 11 Feb. 2010
By 
Brady Orme (Edgbaston, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Philosophy of a Knife [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
If you're looking for a historically-accurate film that describes Unit 731 and the atrocities they unleashed upon the World (look them up, you won't thank me for it) then you won't find it here. This film and the similar "Men Behind The Sun" (same subject) are both exploitation films, pure and simple, using the ghoulish subject matter in order to show young people being sliced, diced and generally experimented upon. "Schindler's List" it aint, thank God.

Andrey Iskarov (check out his "Visions of Suffering") shows black-and-white footage of young Russian lovelies being torn to pieces in as many ways as his imagination can vomit up, interspersed with documentary footage and rather pointless interviews with "eye witnesses" - none of whom actually spent time within the Unit - and hilarious narration by a Brummie professor courtesy of being recorded in Birmingham. None of the above is truly shocking though, compared to the fact that the film is nigh-on FOUR HOURS long, which makes it a mammoth task to sit through without making you crave a good lobotomy. Took me two days.

Still, Unearthed Films are fast becoming the greatest indie DVD label on the blogosphere, with lovingly-packaged films smothered with extras and the like. If you are a true gore hound, you'll probably lap this up. Torture yourself and your historical insensitivity later.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Brave but unexceptional film about Unit 731., 4 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Philosophy of a Knife [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
When I heard about this notorious film reflecting on the famous Japanese Unit 731 experiments in the 1940s it sounded interesting: interviews, a narrative and lots of gory reconstructions of the many atrocities that happened there. However despite the premise been a good one it does not work that effectively. It is not historically accurate so can’t be of benefit to those that see it as an educational film.
To start with the minus points most of the scenes of torture and death look really fake. This would be ok in itself but most of these scenes go on twice as long as they should with arty effects and weird images edited in for no reason with dodgy sound. It just tries too hard to be an art film and unsuccessfully tries to distance itself from the exploitation genre. This in turn makes none of the scenes disturbing which given the subject matter they should be. Instead a scene starts well, the tooth pulling scene for example but quickly turns boring as it becomes over long and repetitive. However as the film progresses many of the scenes are shorter and work more effective.
It is as expected, a film serious in tone but has a dark comic moment when a prisoner’s skin is carved off their face and replaced with that of another prisoner. Every time the guard tries to take a photograph the prisoner bows their head and the skin falls off. It is much needed relief in a film that is best watched in two to four sittings. At over four hours long and with a clear break in the middle it feels like a double album that’s ok, some decent moments on each side but would have made an excellent film if it was trimmed to less than two hours by shortening scenes and getting rid of the uninteresting rubbish.
It is not all bad though. It is a brave subject matter to cover and although it is not executed at all well the general premise is a good one. Some of the scenes are more realistic: tongue slicing, sawing frozen people in half, peeling skin of a prisoner’s back are some of the memorable ones. It’s not disturbing or historically accurate but it is a film that you will not forget watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 8 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Philosophy of a Knife [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Part documentary, part grisly reconstruction, this is an account of the Japanese atrocities perpetrated at Unit 731, where they subjected people to numerous barbaric acts in the name of science.
First off, Ishkanov is a genius.
His other films "Nails" and " Visions of Suffering" are ground breaking and surreal horror films,
This despite dwelling overly long on scenes of sadism is superbly shot.
This man has an eye for framing his shots which is second to none, and there are snow/countryside scenes of stark beauty which juxtapose the scenes of hell which take place within the unit.
I love this director.......he is an absolute artist.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PHILOSPHY OF A KNIFE, 17 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Philosophy of a Knife [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is one film that remarkably enough actually disturbed me. Unit 731 and Nanking massacre have definetly been on the list the last 2yrs. Finally Japan and the Chinese have allowed the facts of Unit 731 to become public, producing films such as MEN BEHIND THE SUN and the events of The Rape of Nanking.

The film is directed (finally) from a Russian point of view, as these were the majority of the victims that were experimented on in the Unit. It also follows the subtle love a solider/ doctor has for one of the female russian'experiments'. Of course this is doomed due to the very nature of the situation.

This is one of my favorite depictions of Unit 731. After studying the Nanking massacre and information on the existence of the Unit (and other associations of the war at the time) i found this to be the most reliable source of facts that took place. It was hard but i found a fair bit of info on the Unit and its medical purpose for chemical and biological warfare. i was surprised that the film did show many accurate drawings and medical studies that were used.

As mentioned before its in black and white (which believe me, you are thankful for, and i can watch anything!). this also adds something i never expected to find and thats the atmosphere of desperation, the sense of bleakness and lost hope. You see how the victims are treated worse than animals, and all of this heightens the horrifically disturbing depictions of their existence.

This film does seem to create polarised points of views from audiences. Some find it boring, too factual (due to many of the old footage of photographs taken, and visually drawn pictures) and of course its black and white, plus very long.

Others (like me) found it a horrifically harrowing film, the aesthetically desperate nature of the Unit and its victims. The extreme nature of this film means if your not into disturbing horror, leave well alone. Despite the directors choice to film in B&W, this film is still very hard to watch, for me the length added a feeling of hopelessness. I was also surprised that MEN BEHIND THE SUN was so tame in comparison.

This is a tough film that shows horrendous (and believable) abuse of people in war camps, and those treated for medical reasons. But its set apart from any other film by drawing you into the horror of mankind.

So if you like relatively factual information on WW2 (of course some is also fiction), and the Japaneses treatment of POWs PLUS you can stomach extreme torture, that at times is makes you cringe with disgust, you may like this. But it is long, i was so absorbed i watched the whole film in one go. I found that it sucked me in, and to divide it into half would lose so much of the dread, and atmosphere that are essential to the film.

In the end this is a bleak, sad and horrifically disturbing film, i actually put it on my 'Most Disturbing, Extreme horror' list. To me it was refreshing to see it from the points of the russians but this film shouldnt be watched by any1 who doesnt know what their getting into.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of a Knife, 22 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Philosophy of a Knife [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
its very very very very very very very very boring and very very very very expensive!sry its my my meaning...
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