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Publicity Stills of "Big Bang Love Juvenile A"
(Courtesy from Archer Entertainment)

Genre: Drama
Director: Miike Takashi
Starring: Ryuhei Matsuda, Masanobu Ando, Shunsuke Kubozuka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: Archer Entertainment APPL & The Picturehouse
Rating: M18 (Mature Theme)
Official Website: http://www.archerentasia.com/bblja

Release Date: 18 January 2007

Synopsis :

World-renowned Japaness film director, Takashi Miike (Audition) depicts a beautifully sensual world of troubled young men yet seen before by audiences. Is hope or despair what they see on the other side of their iron-barred cells?

Ariyoshi Jun (Matsuda Ryuhei) who worked at a gay bar, is sexually assulted by a customer, goes into a frenzy and kills the man. While being transported to jail, Jun meets another young male: Katzuki Shiro (Ando Masanobu) an impressive youth with curious tattoos and looks that could kill.

Shiro displays his brute force from the beginning. The timid Jun is attracted to Shiro's intensity and strength. Jun is the only person that Shiro opens up to as they accept each other for who they are.

A guard witnesses an incident. One of the young men strangles another prisoner with all his might in a common area. The corpse has breathed his last breath. It is Shiro. Tears flow down the face of the young man who turns to the guard. It is Jun.

Movie Review:

Takeshi Miike has never been one for pigeonholing himself into the types of films that he’s become famous for and in "Big Bang Love, Juvenile A", Miike does not venture into a wholly surprising territory like he’s done with the more commercially viable “The Great Yokai War”. However, his latest is a decidedly different film that might even continue to surprise his fans. Once again, he proves himself to be a more than capable visual master and even if his storytelling might leave more than a few scratching their heads at the end, there’s an almost tangible sense of knowing that lingers on even after the curtains are drawn.

Returning to the intransigence of humanity’s existential castles in sexuality and violence, the prolific Miike crafts a hybrid of sorts in his newest effort with a blend of noir and apparent romance. Set in an indeterminate future, two juvenile delinquents have been charged for murder and incarcerated together in a dystopian prison. Jun (Ryuhei Matsuda) has murdered a sexual predator and the brutality of his crime denies him a claim for self-defense. But as far as Jun’s relatively mild exterior goes, Shiro (Masanobu Ando) seems the contrast as he shows himself to be a belligerent and violent delinquent. The nascent attraction is initially less sexual and more psychological as Jun is drawn towards Shiro’s confidence and lack of fear. It veers swiftly from the onset into a claustrophobic prison drama as Shiro makes his way up the prison’s hierarchy with Jun in tow. The homosexual tension built and the cynical human complexities that are woven into the imagery are pointedly Fassbinderean in tone. But while a homoerotic prison relationship might seem as trite and narrow-minded as they come, in Miike’s view, it just serves as a redaction that pierces through societal veils.

An act of sorrowful aggression and a death sets the scene for an exploration in violence. Highly attuned in expressing his chimerical cache of visual techniques, Miike turns the tables on a burgeoning bond between the two prisoners into a murder mystery that’s shifts between the story’s chronologies and uses stylisation to create a kind of hyper-realistic mood piece that begins by plodding on like a crime procedural while the disjointed narrative drops hints along the way. In its emerging fervour for discovery, the film circles itself and repeats events differently and allowing a sense of intimacy to unfold relating to the crime.

As expected, “Big Bang Love, Juvenile A” is ambitious and aesthetically dense. While gorgeous and hauntingly ethereal in some scenes, it also falls flat in its allusions in others. In a wide and expressive schema, Miike flourishes his scenes with symbolism that carries a sort of nouvelle vague touch that would send cineastes into raptures. And surprisingly against the film’s almost inscrutable creative pursuits, Miike does have an ending that relents more answers than expected in its fragmented storytelling.

Movie Rating:

(One of Miike’s most thematically dense outings, well worth the effort)

Review by Justin Deimen


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