Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
on 22 August 2014
Back in his heyday director Miike Takashi was one of the more prolific directors in his native Japan. It seemed like he was churning a movie out every other week and the results were predictably inconsistent. Now he’s slowed down to, roughly, 2 movies a year (I kid you not) the quality of his output seems a lot more reliable.
'Lesson of Evil' is his movie from 2012 and is a dark, blackly comic thriller about a handsome high-school teacher, Mr. Hasumi, whom is also a sociopathic killer. Outwardly affable, Hasumi is the kind of teacher who is everybody’s friend and confidante, well liked by his pupils and colleagues. Unfortunately though, he’s not above deception, seduction, bribery and more than a few murders to solve the problems he comes across. When a suspicious colleague starts investigating Hasumi’s past, however, his web of deception starts to unravel and in his wrath, the full horror of his capacity for murder is unleashed.
Miike Takashi is a director whose output I’ve admired more than 'liked.' Whilst I admire his willingness to go to dark and extreme places, it doesn’t make his movies particularly pleasant to watch. As he’s slowed down though, his later movies have showed a new maturity where needed and respect for narrative, whilst still keeping his skill for disturbing imagery but used correctly now and not just for shock effect. 'Lesson of Evil' keeps with this new trend.
The movie is very nicely shot. It is very dark, both thematically and visually, but it does have flashes of Miike’s garish streak in its gorier moments. The acting is mostly solid throughout from the teen students to Hasumi’s faculty colleagues, but like a lot of Asian productions there are moments of 'unusual' English dialogue delivery that strike a wrong note for native English speakers. They are few and far between though. Towering over everyone else however is Hideaki Ito as Hasumi who nails both the charming and chilling aspects of his character and 'almost' makes you root for him.
Whilst it’s a little late for me (I imported the Hong Kong Blu-ray last year) I think 'Third Window' should be both applauded and supported for not only bringing movies like this to Blu-ray, but also for loading them with extras like the promised 2 hour ‘Making Of’. Sadly, after the closure of Tartan, Hong Kong Legends/Premier Asia and CineAsia most Asian movie releases are trimmed-down ‘International Cuts’ put out on shovelware, feature-less DVD releases from Indie or Major distributors that don’t really care for them. If we don’t want more of this then we have to put our money where our mouth is!