Top positive review
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Excellent, twisted Japanese film!
on 2 December 2011
Guilty of Romance is a recent Japanese film, directed by cult filmmaker Sion Sono. If you've seen any of his earlier films like Suicide Club, you may have an idea of what to expect, for but those new to his work, this is a gripping, thrilling, and often surprising film. The beginning, where two mutilated bodies are discovered by police, sets the film up to be a typical murder-mystery type affair, but we then cut away from this story to focus on the life of Izumi, a 30-year old wife of a famous novelist. She grows bored and disillusioned by the monotony of her routine, day-to-day existence, and when she's approached by a modelling company, she decides to get involved in what turns out to be a dark and seedy underworld. With lots and lots of pink paint balls. Guilty of Romance is full of twists and turns, all the way up to the ending, which I'll happily admit I didn't see coming at all. There's lots of sex in this, and Megumi Kagurazaka, who plays Izumi, pulls off a demanding role in which her character completely alters. The soundtrack is also worth mentioning - it's a mainly classical soundtrack, but really does complement the film extremely well. This is certainly a quirky film, and is one of the best recent Japanese films I've seen. If you've got a strong stomach and don't mind a fair bit of nudity, this is definitely worth adding to your shelf.
The Blu-ray is released by Eureka Entertainment, and is a typically strong package. This is a new film (only recently opening in Japanese theatres), and so the transfer is very strong on the disc. The image is sharp as you'd expect, and the sound, though only in stereo as opposed to surround sound, is clear and works well, especially when the classic soundtrack pumps through. The film is obviously in Japanese, with optional English subtitles. There are no other foreign language subtitles on the disc. As far as extra features go, there's an engaging if light-hearted interview with the lead actress, a full-length audio commentary by film critic Jasper Sharp, and the original UK trailer. The only slight negative is that the longer edit, screened at Cannes, is not included in this package. Though it's hard to imagine how the film could be improved by adding scenes, for completion's sake it would have been nice to have them included by using Blu-ray's seamless branching technology. Don't let that put you off though, this is a very good film, released in a far better package than many similar films have been afforded.