28 September 1999 | jacqui-3
Far from a film that explores the "whydunit?" of a ruthless but charming murderer, Vengeance of Mine bristles with all the energies Imamura believes the real Japanese possess. These people are in lower social positions and just trying to survive the brutality of day-to-day struggles. In their energy, courage, and perseverance to survive, Vengeance of Mine becomes beautiful and captivating to watch.
Admittedly, it is quite difficult to understand such stereotypes as murderer, tempted Catholic, prostitute, pimp/hotel owners, and delivery men as eccentric individuals in the space of two hours. But oddly enough, I feel a strange sense of familiarity in the hustle and bustle of these characters in the story. They may live their lives teetering on what is considered socially acceptable or healthful, but Imamura presents them with such respect and curiosity (of an anthropologist?!) - that I cannot resist feeling their robust lives leaping off the screen. In this way their seemingly bizzare and extreme behavior are very convincing, very real, and very touching.
Highly recommended for the challenging story (flashbacks, vignettes, illogical twists and turns of story and visual), quirky pace, idyllic country scenes, and the wonderful performance of Ken Ogata.