23 February 2011 | Bloodwank
Effective, provocative little violent pink gem
It's interesting to me, the pinku approach to rape. In Western cinema it tends to be an instant source of horror, a spur to vengeance, a thing entirely negative without any nuance. I've only seen a few pinku films so far but their approach is different, rape is something without such overwhelming connotations, sure it can be terrible, but also a spur to plot and character that isn't entirely negative, an entry into sexuality which isn't a simple matter of warped power dynamics or unpleasant titillation. Attack is a prime example of the more exploratory approach to rape, though rape is its driving force it isn't a force that leads just to horror and violence, instead it is also transformatory and an impetus to self realisation. Kumiko, a policewoman with an interest in violent pornography is raped by a particularly cavalier villain (he rams her car into an alley with his truck), this leads her on a course of sexual discovery with unexpected (well, maybe not entirely unexpected) results. In this harsh world, sex is lurid, selfish, bouncing, passionate, and sometimes sex is unwilling. One thing I found interesting about this one is that the rape side of things is never approached for eroticism, in fact there are only a couple of notably eroticised passages in the film. I was a little surprised, this being a Yasuharu Hasebe film (and my first experience of the notorious director) but looking at his filmography I see it came just a few films after his most infamous work and so perhaps there was a notion towards respectability in the film. Instead of sleazier kicks, the rapes in this one are gritty, shot hemmed in and bleakly thrilling, they have a curiously exciting edge. Sex on the other hand is shot a little further out and is always boisterous, often noisy, a throbbing uncontrollable expression. There are a fair few scenes of both rape and sex during the course of the film, as our heroine becomes obsessed with her attacker during the course of a bleak realisation of her place in this rampant world. Its a sad and fascinating spiral, held together by a bravura performance by Asami Ogawa as Kumiko, with a scene in which she rediscovers her body, first impassive then passionately particularly impressive. The supporting cast is equally fine, Yoko Azusa as her distant friend and others, while Hasebe keeps things interesting and even tense throughout, doing especially well with the music choices. Several well known classical pieces appear (Ode to Joy and Moonlight Sonata among them), as well as a fair admixture of Japanese lounge, its a nice combination and the use of classical music alongside violent and sexual imagery is really rather striking. Altogether, I rather liked this one once I got used to the minimal nudity, its a well thought out and thought provoking affair with a couple of great jolts and a lingering unease. Seekers after the nastier of these sorts of films may be disappointed but by and large I had a pretty good time. Worth investigating at any rate I'd say.