Sion Sono sure knows how to make fun and insane movies. With films like Suicide Club and Love Exposure, he has entertained lots of viewers and at the same time offended many others. The films’ bloody violence and obscene subject matters may well be a turn-off for some, but others don’t seem to be able to get enough of them. Now, after making some serious drama like Himizu and The Land Of Hope, his new film Why Don’t You Play In Hell? marks a return to the over-the-top style of filmmaking that he is most famous for. And the result? It's exhilarating!
A bunch of film lovers band together to form a creative team called the ‘F*ck Bombers’ but after years of working together, they are still waiting for their big break. Meanwhile, the cute daughter of a Yakuza boss has grown up to become a beautiful woman and her mother wishes for her to become the star of a film…
Like Love Exposure, Why Don’t You Play In Hell? mixes a number of genres such as action, drama, romance and comedy. The main difference is that the stories in Love Exposure are told over 4 hours while Hell has a running time of 2 hours, which means it has relatively less time for character portrayal and development and the film does suffer a little as a result. However, the fast pace and bloody violence of the film will make sure you don’t get the chance to complain about the characters.
The cast members, which include Jun Kunimura, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, Hiroki Hasegawa, Gen Hoshino, all appear to have had fun making this film. Young actress Fumi Nikaido (Himizu, Lesson Of The Evil, The Brain Man – JFF 2013), with her sexy costumes and slight overacting, manages to stand out in every scene that she is in. And director Sono seems to have a lot to say about the current state of Japanese cinema. “I want to make one masterpiece. Not like those directors who make any old movie for money and houses,” says the fictional director from the F*ck Bombers. “The pursuit of money is killing Japanese cinema!”
Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is like a wild roller-coaster ride and you will either love it or you’ll hate it. If you like Suicide Club and Love Exposure, this film could make you feel like you’re in heaven; but if those films aren’t your cup of tea, it may be best if you stay the hell away from this one.
The Bottom Line: Sono-san, no, I don’t want to play in hell because it’s more fun to stay on earth and watch your films.