REVIEW BY-HARVEY F. CHARTRAND
DIRECTED BY- TERUO ISHII
CAST - TADANOBU ASANO, MIKI FUJITANI, TETSURO TAMBA
SOURCE - PANIK HOUSE ENTERTAINMENT DVD
Judging by the ugly images on the cover of the DVD, Screwed is being marketed as a horror film, but it is actually unclassifiable, although the opening and closing sequences are fairly disturbing. They feature topless women crawling on a beach while a naked contortionist births a slimy pod person through his back and a primitive tribesman with a giant phallus dances on boulders.
Based on a famous Manga comic strip, Screwed starts off as a downbeat drama of domestic discord. Tsube, a wannabe cartoonist, canít make a living, so his lovely girlfriend/wife (itís never made clear) must become the breadwinner. She gets a job as a cook at a dormitory and rather enthusiastically drifts into a life of profitable prostitution. The story then evolves into a series of surreal vignettes in which the unlucky-in-love cartoonist attempts suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, becomes a homeless drifter, and impulsively takes a toy train (driven by a biped cat) to a remote fishing village, where he is either scoring with the ladies or living out his erotic dream fantasies. Tsube has wild sex with a naked female gynecologist, who fixes him by attaching a spigot (or screw) to his wounded bicep. Screwed is a hybrid film Ė here we have a strange mixture of Mike Leighís kitchen-sink drama, David Lynchís evocation of dreadful unease in familiar settings, and Federico Felliniís chaotic panoply of freakish characters.
Screwed is filled with moments of baffling, uncomfortable humor, as in the scene where the cartoonist stays in the cramped apartment of a calligrapher who tries to sodomize him while asleep. Tsube cleverly untangles himself from the sleeping manís embraces. The following morning, the calligrapher canít remember his attempt at seduction, but admits to having enjoyed a "dirty dream." There is another twisted moment when the cartoonist, still groggy from his suicide attempt, is led into a hospital bathroom by an attractive nurse, who helps him urinate by holding his penis and aiming it toward the urinal. For some reason, Tsube pisses with the intensity of a burst watermain, spraying the nurse and missing the urinal completely. Later on, the cartoonist wanders about the fishing village seeking medical attention for a wound caused by a "jellyfish bite," but all the doctors in town are optometrists.
I canít say I hated Screwed. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before and I didnít quite know what to make of it. This does not mean that it is a great picture, though. Based on this work, I donít understand why Quentin Tarantino would praise Teruo Ishii as "a fantastic director" (as quoted on the DVD jacket blurb).
The DVD pressing was slightly corrupted. Although Screwedís running time is only 85 minutes, it took me several hours to watch it all the way through. The film is quite slow-paced, so I kept nodding off, and the English subtitles only kick in during the opening credits. If you select a chapter and skip ahead, the subtitles disappear. So you have to go all the way back to the beginning of the film, reactivate the English subtitles feature and sit through the movie a second or third or fourth time. Even by pausing the film, you risk losing the subtitles. So it took me about five hours to watch an 85-minute movie!
That is time I wonít get back. And that really made me feel screwed!
Purchase this at X-Ploited Cinema
Discuss this in our forums
© 2007 cinema-nocturna.com