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Rampo Noir

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language: Japanese w/English subtitles

A vivid adaptation of the short stories of Taro Hirai A.K.A. Edogawa Rampo, often recalled as the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe. Four auteur directors provide a shocking compilation of short films each stylistically different and based on the masterpieces of the great Japanese mystery writer. These dark narratives are mysterious forays into grotesque and erotic fantasy worlds.

Mars Canal Note: This portion purposefully has no audio
Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover.

Mirror Hell
When a series of women are discovered with their faces burnt and skulls charred, a young detective investigates, discovering that a unique hand mirror is always found at the scene.

Caterpillar
A war hero returns home with no limbs and only his eyesight remaining. His beautiful wife, tired of taking care of him, turns to torturing her crippled husband for amusement.

Crawling Bugs
A sexy actress is returning home from a successful night on stage, until her limo driver decides that she should be coming home with him.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tadanobu Asano, Yûko Daike, Chisako Hara, Masami Horiuchi, Mikako Ichikawa
  • Directors: Akio Jissoji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Sato, Suguru Takeuchi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Micott & Basara
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HLDFMW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,662 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rampo Noir" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Captain Insanity VINE VOICE on February 8, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here we have an oddly unique Asian anthology flick
based on the writings of Edogawa Rampo,
widely considered to be the Japanese Edgar Allan Poe.
All 4 shorts are calm, philosophical, and contemplative
(Each with it's own exceptional conclusion)
The violence in each, comes across as poetic & evasive.
Often taking place entirely off-screen, or in some instances, deviously hinted at.
Regardless of it's presence, it is always significant to the plot.
Even the sex comes across as erotic poetry.
Never vulgar, but none the less intriguing.
Here's a brief synopsis & description of each short.

- "Mars Canal" -
5 minute short with no sound.
VERY, VERY confusing & ultimately forgettable.
(I question why they even bothered including this one in the anthology)
It depicts a naked asian man running toward a giant hole in a field.
The scene quickly flashes to either violent sex/ or a naked beating.
And then back to the hole in the field.
In all honesty you're better off skipping this one,
but...since it's so short,
by the time you reach for the remote it will be over.

- "Mirror Hell" -
Detective Akechi, (the re-occuring character in each short) investigates a series of gruesome murders involving a certain brand of mirror that melts the observers face.
EVERY SCENE in this short contains a mirror in it, or is the reflection off one.
My one gripe is, all the violence takes place off-screen =(
(I only say this, because watching various faces melt would've made my millenium.)
Although... there is an unusually erotic scene involving mirrors, rope, and candle wax.
AS well as a mirrored egg, constructed solely for godly re-birth.
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Format: DVD
(Note: originally reviewed in June 2007.)

Rampo Noir (Akio Jissoji/Atsushi Kaneko/Hisayasu Saito/Suguru Takeuchi, 2005)

I've read a good number of reviews of this film by people who didn't seem to grasp, when they originally saw it, that it was violent and disturbing. It seems they'd just heard other reviewers rhapsodizing over the film's beauty, and decided to check it out because of that. (That, or they simply see everything with Tadanobu Asano, which is a perfectly understandable alternative to the first hypothesis.) So I won't fall into the trap of simply saying what a beautiful film this is, though after I saw it, that was exactly what I had planned to do in this review. Why? Because it's one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen; it is certainly the most so of any film I've seen with multiple directors.

Based on three stories by Rampo Edagawa, a celebrated writer of hardboiled mystery tales, Rampo Noir unfolds in four (five, if you count the exceptionally odd extended intro, which has nothing at all to do with the rest of the film) long chapters, with the third story taking up the last two chapters (it's told from two different points of view). Tadanobu Asano, who's rapidly achieving superstar status, appears in all three. He plays a detective in the first two ("Mirror" and "Caterpillar," with the latter the one that the reviewers mentioned in the first paragraph are invariably most traumatized by), and his character ties the two together. "Mirror Hell" is the most traditional mystery of the three; a series of gruesome deaths are linked to hand mirrors manufactured by a certain company, and Kogoro Akechi (Asano), a private investigator, is called in to uncover the truth.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An excellent compendium of short films, using the stories of Edogawa Rampo as a starting point for some strange explorations of the fine lines separating dream and wakefullness, beauty and grotesquerie. Watched in one sitting the films may become quite overwhelming for the viewer. Myself, I watched a story each night before bed thus ensuring a plentiful supply of odd dreams (and not at all horrific!) My personal favourite in the compilation is 'Crawling Bugs', the final scene is a bit of a shock!

Being a bit of a Rampo buff I've knocked a star off the rating as I would have loved to have seen the films staged 'in period' (1920's - 1930's), but nevertheless each film succeeds in creating a timeless ambience well suited to The Man's work.
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The DVD is clearly burned, but that's not the issue. The audio lags behind the video by about half a second, so I stopped watching it about 40 minutes in in favor of a different version, whose audio is synced well. Maybe the problem is that I paused and started it too many times, so it got desynced, but that shouldn't matter for a well-made DVD. The DVD is misprinted, too, saying, "Ranpo Noir."

When the DVD was opened, it emitted a strange scent, but it's not a big deal since it smells like vanilla and vanilla smells alright.

I got this version since the box art is cooler than the $50 one and I'm sure someone can appreciate vanilla-scented, burned DVDs, but I'm only keeping it because, well, I can now say I own a very unique movie on DVD, regardless of who sold it.

So, on to the film review. There are four shorts on this DVD.

Mars Canal:
Very short story without dialog or music, with one scene of white noise, that's enough to be okay with watching. Really good camera work and I'm sure there's a deeper meaning to it behind its short run-time. A man reflects on his love life in the middle of a desolate landscape.

Mirror Hell:
The shots are creative, the story is compelling and it has nudity without any gore. "Mirror Hell" is the perfect title to describe this story and many shots use mirrors in well-thought-out ways. The tale, I won't ruin it, is realistic enough at the end to justify what happens, regardless of it being a little far-fetched. Great camera work, intense acting and no holds barred in this story. Thoroughly enjoyable, albeit short, detective story that sheds light on narcissism.

Caterpillar:
Uh, wow. This short goes where few other films go.
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