Izo (Special Edition)
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- Interview with director Takashi Miike
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Top Customer Reviews
Izo was an assassin on the losing side of a war; he was crucified after its completion. His spirit then seeks out revenge against the universe itself.
The rulers - the bishop, the scholar, the general, and so on - which he seeks to destroy should not be seen as mere individuals. They are prototypes, representatives of the elements of the system of control afflicting humanity from time immemorial. They also govern the cosmos' karmic order; Izo's revenge is against the fundamental deceit underlying it.
At first, Izo's story is purely one of revenge; over time, it takes on an additional quality - a search the reason of his existence. His enemies can't understand this pursuit. It is false to say that Izo kills without discrimination - in fact, attentive viewers become sympathetic to Izo as the plot continues, as we see how each kill anguishes his soul. He only kills those who stand in the way of his quest or who embody society's deceitful structure, such as the couple in the marriage ceremony. The students in class, who are learning the truth, are left alone despite Izo's recalling of Hanpeita's admonition to become a killing machine. Quietly eating peasants are untouched.
This movie is, I think, Miike's greatest film. It would help to brush up on Japanese culture before viewing - to understand the notion of karma and some symbolism (a spinner, for example, is a sign of fate). The effort will be well spent.
So, it's not surprising that this is one of the lesser-recieved of Miike's works. Using the "hook" of a sword fighting epic initially gets people interested in this film, but seeing no conventional plot or point to what is happening throws people off. This confuses me -- though I definitely didn't grasp everything upon the first viewing of this, I was still instantly amazed at what Miike has set up here: A journey through one man's tortured soul. Even if you don't feel like you understand everything that's happening, you still realize this film is genius -- maybe you just haven't figured out why yet.
Upon repeated viewings, however, I figured out why. As another reviewer mentioned, you have to kind of look in between the lines.Read more ›
For some reason it reminds me of The Last Temptaion of Christ splattered in blood, begging for mercy and asking the ultimate truth of human suffering.(with some really great cameos)
Only for true Miike fans.
Okada Izo was an actual historical figure, a samurai from the late Edo period and one of the most feared assassins of his time. He met a messy end, being tortured and crucified, thus ensuring his transformation into a legend. Gosha Hideo chronicled Izo's life and death in the 1969 film "Hitokiri." Miike Takashi took the challenge of filming Izo's afterlife, setting his film "Izo" as a direct sequel to the earlier Gosha movie.
The story begins with Izo's death and the resurrection of his angry spirit, which is propelled backwards and forwards in time and space on a perpetual killing spree. Izo himself does not really understand the motivations of his actions, being guided by some other force, and while he is able to feel pain he can never die again. He only slaughters, becoming more and more demon-like in appearance (and super-hero-like, complete with mask and cape) and his killing continues. His ultimate target is thought to be the group that controls humanity, the military, media, scholars and religious figures who conspire to keep people ignorant and controllable. Towards the end though, Izo has completely forgotten what he is trying to accomplish, and just cuts down anyone in front of him.
In order to create some buzz and interest in a somewhat esoteric project, the producers of "Izo" went with a "dream team" casting of pairing popular auteur Kitano "Beat" Takeshi (...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wait. Wait. Wait. Damn. He didn't...damn. He's not going to...damn. Oh, no- what...damn.Published 13 months ago by Michael Bennett
The Japanese have cinematography nailed down...like Izo on the cross near the beginning of the film. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by Mother Mac
If you've "seen" this "movie" I feel your pain.
Don't get me wrong I enjoyed quite a few of Miike's films However this doesn't have the right to be called a film. Read more
To see this is interesting to say the least. I can now say I have. I will check if off my viewing. To keep it? Not unless I like school children muttering philosophy. Read morePublished on March 23, 2009 by Jerry Guinn
It's not a martial arts movie; it is about a philosophy; a way of living and dying. Izo can be a type of demon or even a manifestation of Satan; he is in a Hell of his own creation... Read morePublished on April 26, 2008 by LFrog1386
Wow, another demented head trip by Miike. I'm not exactly sure what I just watched, but I know it was great. Read morePublished on November 18, 2007 by C. Christopher Blackshere
This film stands in a VERY select group of films that manage to achieve both a cinematic and a philosophical brilliance. Read morePublished on October 24, 2007 by Stacy R. Ange
I almost watched this movie to its entirety when I finally just could not take being bored further. I was even fast-forwarding through the last 20 minutes in case anything... Read morePublished on October 11, 2006 by Gregory M. Li
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