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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lynchian Style Shockfest, 31 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Strange Circus [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Firstly, the review by Caradoc Elmet is absolute nonsense. I purchased my version from an Amazon market place supplier and the running time is just shy of two hours. The flick I watched was very disturbing and extremely graphic with full on violence and not cut in the slightest.

Masumi Miyazaki puts in an incredible performance in Sion Sono's erotically grotesque masterpiece about an author who may, or may not, have been abused as a child. The story centres around a teenage girl called Mitsuko who is forced to watch her parents indulge in carnal pleasures through a peephole from inside a cello case; until her demented father (former glam rocker and artist Oguchi) decides upon a role reversal between mother and daughter and a ludicrous love triangle develops amidst a doomed family dynamic. Jealousy rears its ugly head as fighting ensues between the once peaceful mother and daughter. The sexual abuse sends Mitsuko's mind into a realm of fantasy making her an audience member observing the strange circus that decapitates any willing volunteer; as evil clowns and drag-queens stalk the sumptuously lit stage inside a darkened club.

The starkly gorgeous style of the cinematography and the garish narrative, which clearly echoes the "is it real or imagined" style of Edogawa Rampo, is all crafted from the same uncomfortably resonant atmospheric fabric that nightmares reside within: the hallways occasionally transform into blood-dripping, crimson corridors with a televised head of authoritarian parenting being wheeled around.

The luridly stylised eroticism laced in fetid fetishism with an insatiable script plummets even deeper into the bowels of depravity long before the amputation scenes, bondage imprisonment and secret transexuality kicks into full swing. Is it all just a novel being penned by the notoriously deranged wheelchair-bound reclusive author Taeko? Is Taeko actually Mitsuko as a mature women; or, is she Mitsuko's mother trying to heal her fractured mind? Strange circus is a bizarre, wicked tale about a soiled mind that should appeal to fans of David Lynch. Cinema at its best... absolutely brilliant!
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