Gothic & Lolita Psycho -- Film Review
Tokyo International Film Festival -- TIFFCOM
Rina Akiyama, Yanagi Yurei, Momose Misaki,
In the same way no one does vengeance thrillers like the Koreans, no one can touch the Japanese for nonsensical, outrageous gonzo gore.
The latest addition to the oeuvre is action director Ohara Go's ("Death Trance") "Gothic & Lolita Psycho," a touching tale of a young woman on a quest to avenge her mother's murder and her father's maiming. Or at least that's kind of what it's about, if you consider decapitations and disembowelings touching. This is not for the squeamish.
Nishimura Yoshihiro and the effects crew responsible for the insanity that was "Tokyo Gore Police" and "Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl" work their particular brand of F/X magic here, and fans of those cult hits will recognize their signature mayhem without needing to see their names in the credits. The success of "Gothic & Lolita Psycho" should mirror that of Nishimura's earlier films as director, and genre and midnight fests and distributors in all corners of the globe specializing in films like it are sure to show interest.
The only truly pressing question surrounding "G&LP" is one of what took so long for it to happen. The well-worn Japanese Lolita trend is ripe for satire and blending it with the more established Goth scene makes sense. In what the movie terms "Tokyo of 20XX" (what does that mean?), sweet and innocent Yuki (Rina Akiyama) has her birthday celebration interrupted by what could be a home invasion, where her mother is murdered and her father, Jiro (Yanagi Yurei), is crippled. Perhaps years later, Jiro is acting as Yuki's personal Q, building all manner of weapon for her, and armed with her parasol of doom, Yuki methodically kills the people responsible for the earlier crime. Of course there's an outre catch to the story that Yuki discovers the hard way.
"G&LP" moves at lightning speed, barely letting up on the fights, geysers of red paint, er, blood, limb removals, flying bodies and goofy sound effects. When it does relent, it's only for the minimum length of time needed to move the so-called story along. This is unrepentant entertainment, and though several sequences involving Yuki and her Lolita garb are subtlely witty, "G&LP" never quite reaches the wry heights of Nishimura's work on his own films. But Ohara knows exactly what he's doing at all times, and the stunt doubles only intermittently look like guys in wigs. Fans of the genre will be pleased.
Venue: Tokyo International Film Festival -- TIFFCOM
Sales: Pony Canyon
Production: Ohara Bros., DHE Corp
Producer: Nakajima Jun, Sasaki Hiroyuki
Director: Ohara Go
Screenwriter: Kuroki Hisakatsu
Executive producer: Omata Shuji, Ohara Shu, Kimura Motoko
Director of Photography: Ito Nobuhisa
Music: Bloody Bad Romance
Editor: Ohara Go
Cast: Rina Akiyama, Yanagi Yurei, Momose Misaki, Tsukui Minami, Okamoto Seiji, Hakuzen Satoshi, Aoyagi Ruito, Nakajima Fumie
No rating, 87 minutes
Sundance: On the Scene