Genre: Crime, drama
Director/s: Sion Sono
Running Time: 129 mins
Released: 5 September 2011
Himizu (Japanese Shrew Mole) has earned a certain amount of acclaim in the Japanese film industry as well as in certain Western circles for being a ‘masterpiece’ or ‘extraordinary’ however I cannot fathom as to why that is as this film is utterly pointless. Himizu focuses on two teenagers who live a dystopian existence after the tsunami disaster in May 2011. Even though the disaster is used as the backdrop of the film to exemplify the hopeless dreariness of the situation, it pales in comparison to the dreary protagonists. Sumida lives with his mother in a boat house, in no time she abandons him and soon after he kills his father – a worthless man who frequents the home in search of cash and alcohol. In the beginning Sumida still goes to school and is stalked by Keiko who spends her time coating her bedroom wall with pages of random quotes that Sumida makes throughout the day. Soon enough Keiko begins to speak to Sumida and when he stops going to school, she starts spending her days at Sumida’s home, even though he has absolutely no interest in her. Himizu won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor and Actress, which is quite confusing as both protagonists display the usual amount of over-acting, and nonsensical garbage lines synonymous with many Japanese dramas, such as Sumida himself shouting “Sumida! Don’t give up!” Himizu is basically two hours of exaggerated teenage angst, screaming, pointless crying, abuse (as Sumida and Keiko slap one another around repeatedly) and stupidity as Sumida ‘descends into madness’ after slaying his father, deciding to “punish bad guys” in the last hour of the film which equates to him walking around town covered in paint (some of which he consumes), carrying a knife around in a bag which he never actually uses. Adding to the melancholy of Himizu is the use of Mozart’s Requiem repeatedly throughout the film’s duration, two hours of the same musical composition, really? What makes everything worse is the fact that Sumida’s misery is self-inflicted, as he never acknowledges or accepts the help of the people (squatters on his property) who actually care for him or try to help him, as he occupies his time with pointless screaming, loitering and for the most part – rolling in mud.
You’d be hard-pressed to take anything from this film as I certainly didn’t. Himizu is a 129 minute waste of your life. Circular, pointless and dreary, filled with forgettable performances and a senseless ending. However, if there’s one film I would like to see Sumida and Keiko in, it’d be Battle Royale.