Himizu Screen 100 of 7 reviews

Himizu

2011

Himizu Poster
  • Abrupt shifts from tender comedy to jarring violence are found throughout Himizu, which dexterously balances an array of tones... Rather than offering up empty shock value, the brutality feels suitable, even logical, a disarmingly experiential ploy that implicates the audience in its acceptance of violent images.

  • Yet the most aggressively cathartic, and best, of [Sono's post-Fukushima] films is Himizu... [It's] filled with explicit and suggestive violence, yet it stands as one of the director's most hopeful and humane films.

  • The setting is simultaneously breathtaking and heartbreaking, and almost unbelievable merely three years later. Fukushima post-3/11 was a wasted landscape of destroyed and abandoned buildings that went on for miles and miles, and in Sono’s hands, it becomes a perfect symbol for his characters’ anguished lives. The stark visuals, in combination with extensive use of Mozart’s Requiem on the soundtrack, creates a mood imbued with power and meaning even before the first dialogue is spoken.

  • These two isolated individuals [Sumida and Keiko] bond in a society coming apart at its foundation. Mr. Sono uses sound, a low, grumbling noise like an earthquake, to convey this chaos. He also gives the film a harrowing cacophony and a sense of trauma with sound effects, including subtle echoes. While not as graphic as Mr. Sono’s other films, the violence here is unrelenting and from all sides. So when Sumida... is driven to vigilante justice, it’s understandable yet especially tragic.

  • The film adds up to much more than a two-hour wallow in physical and emotional brutality. Sono's film is a vision of coming of age as trial by fire, a thunderous encapsulation of that period of transition in which adolescents try to discover themselves: their passions, their purpose, their sense of morality.

  • Himizu is a risky film (not least because it poetically deploys images of the devastation wreaked by the 2011 tsunami) but like Shohei Imamura’s classic The Eel (which Himizu often resembles), it is a film that cannot fail to move us in the way it bares the sincere heart of a misanthrope.

  • Carrying on the fierce and honorable Japanese cinema tradition of the young male existential crisis, Sono Sion's Himizu successfully grafts typhoon destitution and nuclear fallout worries onto a lurching, wildly erratic, funny and blisteringly painful adolescent drama... It never answers how the boy should live or why, but its every frame is utterly wracked with the grim threat of emptiness around everyone, and it answers this world state with enviable energetic frenzy.