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A startling vision of horror and passion from the director of Tetsuo the Iron Man and A Snake of June! Yukio (Shall We Dance's Masahiro Motoki) enjoys a seemingly successful life with his family, including a beautiful but fragile wife whom he met under strange circumstances by a river. However, everything changes one night with the arrival of terrifying stranger who looks just like him... with a terrifying secret that will change their lives forever.
- "The Making of Gemini" featurette directed by Miike Takashi
- Make-up documentary featurette
- Still gallery
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For starters, there is a plague that is running rampant in the slums, and many of his neighbors harbor resentment towards him, due to the fact that he treats the richer clients in the area. Soon, there appears strange smells emanating from his neighborhood residence. Further, a stranger has been spotted near his home. Some sort of doppelganger. Moreover, in a cruel twist, his father has been found murdered. And although the mother knows something, she too winds up dead not long aferwards. You get the feeling that this is some sort of horror film at first, however, things begin to move into another direction as the film progresses further along. It appears that the Doctor has a twin. His name is Sutekichi.
Apparentely his twin brother was abandoned at birth due to a snake-like scar on his leg, and was raised by the poorer denizens of the town. Now, Sutekichi wants what he feels is owed to him. He shoves his brother Yukio down into a well near the garden, while sleeping with his brothers wife. However, there is a stronger connection to the wife and Sutekichi than meets the eye. This is a very strange and creepy film, and I liked every minute of it. This film may not appeal to all viewers, therefore, I recommend you rent the film first. I was surprised to see that there was only one other reviewer of this film. It is definitely worth the watch, and purchase. But once again, rent the film first. Highly recommended. [Stars: 4.5]
I think, ten years later, it is probably best to look at Soseiji (released in English-speaking countries as Gemini) as the border between Shinya Tsukamoto's wilder movies and the restrained, sexy thrillers he's been releasing over the past decade. While Tsukamoto had been heading in the direction of restraint all the way through the nineties (compare Tetsuo the Iron Man, from 1991, and Bullet Ballet, from 1998), this is a movie where, if you know Tsukamoto's previous work, you can feel a sense of settling in the man. It is still very odd, much more so than something like A Snake of June, but it's reaching in the direction of, if not respectability, then at least standard noir.
Yukio (Masahiko Motoki, who recently wowed American audiences in Departures) is a country doctor with a thriving practice treating war wounded and a largely loveless marriage to an amnesiac, Rin (Casshern's Ryo). Things start getting weird when a beggar monk (Renji Ishibashi, one of Takashi Miike's regular stable of actors) begins verbally abusing Yukio in the street, prophesying doom. The prophecies are fulfilled when Sutekichi, Yukio's twin brother, appears, killing Yukio's parents and trapping Yukio in a well on the property with the intention of taking over Yukio's life.
It is probably best to put aside the idea that someone who's been living off the land for thirty-odd years (at least, I'm assuming this by Sutekichi's original appearance, which is vintage Tsukamoto) wouldn't have the knowledge to slip into the life of a country doctor. After all, Sutekichi is far more interested in hooking up with Rin than he is with treating war wounded. It's far easier to believe that Sutekichi simply hasn't thought that far ahead (and the action, once Yukio is down the well, takes place over the next few days at best). So disbelief can be suspended that far, at least, and Tsukamoto has, as usual, excelled in giving us a contingent of actors who will help us along in that regard. Even so, the number of big-name cameos in the movie is extreme (at one point, I had to go check IMDB. "Is that really Tadanobu Asano?" Yes, it is, for all of thirty seconds). It's enough to induce vertigo, but that's nothing new from Tsukamoto. And as usual, it's all quite enjoyable.
Then comes the ending, and it's one of those endings where you're liable to start yelling at the screen. There are two kinds of endings like that. The first is the cop-out (the studio-mandated ending of Sjostrom's The Wind, for example), and knocking off a star or two in response to such a thing is warranted, if not mandated. The second is because the ending is exactly right for the movie, but you can't believe that these characters could be this phenomenally stupid. Soseiji has that kind of ending, and I still haven't been able to decide whether it's brilliant or off-putting (or both). I haven't read the Edigawa story upon which the movie is based, so I don't know if it's in the original. But it strikes me as a very Tsukamoto ending, in the tradition of Bullet Ballet or Bodyhammer. Still, it could be a case of Tsukamoto being drawn to the material because Edogawa wrote it that way. Who knows? Not I. (And can we have a complete-stories Edogawa in English, please?) In the end, it doesn't matter all that much. You should see it if you're a Tsukamoto fan, of course. If you haven't yet discovered the man, start with something else. If you're a fan of the conventional thriller, go for something later (A Snake of June for the conventional erotic thriller fans, Vital for those who like art-house films). Horror and action fans should go earlier (Bullet Ballet for the action kids, the infamous Tetsuo movies for horror). There really is something for everyone in the work of Shinya Tsukamoto, but you may have to dig a little to find it. *** ½
A unique and eerie movie that's not for everyone
There's something about these two guys who are twins.
However it seemed to me that there are even more creatures running around that look like those two guys. After awhile I lost track of who was real and who was some sort of ghost.
The plot isn't even remotely possible, even given the constraints that's it's a movie about creatures and things like that. You can have a movie about creatures but still tie it in with a belieavable story.
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