Saturday, January 22, 2011
Bullet Ballet (Japan; Shinya Tsukamoto, 1998)
Nothing quite compares to a Tsukamoto picture. His distaste for tripods is evident, his constantly moving camera always shaking as the people it captures quickly lose their minds and will to live. In fact, death is what gets this movie started as the suicide of Goda's (Tsukamoto) girlfriend prompts him to find out where she got the gun, beginning an obsessive quest to find one at any cost. This leads him to cross paths with a gang of young misfits who knew his girlfriend, their encounter always resulting in him getting his ass kicked. His numerous attempts at revenge make-up the bulk of the film as he constantly escapes death at the hands of Goto (Takahiro Murase), a gang member who lacks the nerve to kill death-seeking Goda. This death wish is mirrored in the gang's fearless female member Chisato (Kirina Mano), a thrill-rider who has more balls than any male character in the film. Goda's trek into Tsukamoto's stroboscopic world is chaotic and violent, presented to the viewer through quick-editing and dark, gritty black-and-white photography that gives the picture a Cassavates-on-crank sort of aesthetic. While perhaps not as graphically demented as Tetsuo (1989), Bullet is still a twisted and brutal exposure of a world whose possibility for change exists only in its exit.