ByPaul Donovan, writer at Creators.co
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at https:[email protected]_donovan
Paul Donovan

1. This epic tragedy, filmed as a partnership between Japan and Indonesia, easily wins the award for "feel-bad movie of 2015". It is over two hours of despair, hopelessness, and violence. And a lot of blood. But if you can handle that, it is also perversely compelling.

2. It is really two separate stories connected at one horrible nexus. The first story is about Nomura, a serial killer in Tokyo that records his murders and uploads them onto the internet. The second story is about Bayu, a disgruntled and angry journalist in Jakarta who has a secret obsession with Nomura's snuff films.

3. When a traumatic incident happens in Bayu's life, he suffers a psychotic break; he begins his own series of murders and uploads the recordings to the internet. Nomura contacts Bayu, and their lives begin to mirror each other, in some very unhappy ways.

4. The main thesis of the movie is that there is no point in seeing life as something beautiful and precious, because life is just hell, and there's nothing you can do about it.

5. I had to pause the movie at one point so I could mentally prepare myself for what was going to happen in the next scene.

6. There are are small sub-stories within the main stories, when Nomura and Bayu attempt to deal with (short-lived) relationships that occur in their unhinged lives. But despite the fact that the story takes place in two different countries, with multiple side-characters, the movie is tightly constructed and keeps the focus where it needs to be.

7. The movie is about how it's unhealthy to hold onto the past.

8. It's also about how you can sometimes think you've formed a bond with someone... but you really didn't.

9. I don't think even one happy thing occurs in this movie, unless it's to set up something sad later. This is a bleak and bloody meditation on the darkness of humanity. If you think that's something worth exploring, this is one of the most creative stories I've seen - and it really commits itself to going the whole way.

Otherwise, go ahead and skip this one.

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