An astounding return to exploitation from Miike Takashi, one of the world’s most prolific and diverse directors (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q), with a wickedly gruesome tale of high school evil.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
Mr Hasumi, a teacher at a Japanese secondary school, is handsome and charming. However, since this is a film from Miike Takashi, acclaimed auteur of the epic 13 Assassins, the musical For Love’s Sake, and 80 other films, we know there will be more to Hasumi-san than this first impression. Miike reclaims his enfant terrible status (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, Fudoh) with this slow-burning tale of elite high school class systems, petty jealousies, childish grudges, and an endless variety of ways to viciously damage teenage egos, as well as their organs. Miike spends half his movie setting up his numerous high school targets and the other half knocking them down in all sorts of horribly gleeful and gratuitous ways. The film is based on a best-selling thriller, which Miike adapts like a mischievous Michael Haneke (Funny Games), preying on his audience’s genre expectations and then making them feel dirty for liking it. — Ant Timpson