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Vengeance Is Mine - Criterion Collection
Vengeance Is Mine - Criterion Collection
Actors: Ken Ogata, Rentar˘ Mikuni, Chocho Miyako, Mitsuko Baisho, Mayumi Ogawa
Director: Sh˘hei Imamura
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2007     2hr 19min



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Movie Details

Actors: Ken Ogata, Rentar˘ Mikuni, Chocho Miyako, Mitsuko Baisho, Mayumi Ogawa
Director: Sh˘hei Imamura
Creators: Shinsaku Himeda, Keiichi Uraoka, Kazuo Inoue, Masaru Baba, Ryuzo Saki
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/15/2007
Original Release Date: 10/17/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 10/17/1979
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 19min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Kgar | SF, CA | 05/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Again, Shohei Imamura's total control of his craft shows itself in his brutal masterpiece Vengeance Is Mine. This true story follows Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata), a con artist, thief and killer. The film starts with Enokizu's capture and uses unusual, but brilliantly effective editing and pacing to unravel the story of his life. We see Enokizu as a troubled boy in a strict Catholic home and turn into a scam artist and womanizer. As an adult Enokizu's resentment towards his religous father is compounded by rumors of an affair with the father and Enokizu's wife. As his hatered grows stronger and his crimes become more serious, we see first hand Enokizu's downward spiral into murder and the devastating consequences for those around him.

The disturbing nature of this film doesn't lie in it's gore factor (there are very few actual murder scenes), but rather with the non-judgemental view taken of the killer. Imamura neither glorifies nor condems Enokizu. He simply lets the character exist, and lets his inherent nihilism reveal itself. This nihilism is something that both Enokizu and the audience must grapple with throughout the film. Ultimately, Enokizu can only kill innocent people, being too much of a coward to face those he truly hates. This is fully realized in two emotionally gutwrenching scenes at the end of the film; one with Enokizu's lover and another with his father.

The family drama, the cat-and-mouse game between Enokizu and the cops, and some interesting third-act revalations make this two hour plus film quite an undertaking. Don't watch it while making dinner. But with the great acting (Ken Ogata especially), outstanding editing, interesting shooting locations and masterful direction, Imamura takes this messy story and turns it into an artistic, esoteric thriller. A sort of japanese Taxi Driver. The ending is pure Imamura; a poetic farewell to Enokizu that is both eerily enigmatic and profoundly meaningful."
On many complexities of the human soul...
eserhan | ISTANBUL, ESENTEPE Turkey | 02/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In the beginning of Vengeance, there is a key scene of the film's main character. He is unrinating, in order to wash his hands off the blood of his victim. He then notices he's under a tree, wipes his hands with his jacket and picks an apple. He takes a bite and spits. However, the point -we understand as the story unfolds engrossingly to contain many other characters in similarly true moments- is in fact to lay bare the human soul. Immamura achieves very successfuly this main objective, through his immense storytelling powers: the over the top performances he pulls from his superb cast and his brilliant melding of the many subplots.(The editing here, in my opinion, is one the best works ever done in a movie.) In a little over two hours, Vengeance speaks volumes about the many complexities of the human soul and offers many opportunities to confront its dark side. Thus, it is not an easy movie to watch. Yet it offers many insights to the Japanese culture, and is a great point to start knowing the Japanese cinema as well. Highly recommended."
Gripping from start to finish
Zack Davisson | 09/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In this highly ambiguous tale of moral uncertainty--both in terms of the killer himself and all those around him (his father, his wife, his lover and her mother), Imamura is at the top of his game. I saw this film at a film festival in Berkeley the first time and it haunted me for a long long time. The commentary on the back cover of the VHS says it best "Imamura's refusal to either despise or forgive his protagonist makes the movie a devestating experience.""
Zack Davisson | 04/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Imamura constucts a telling portrait of an impassive sociopath. The pacing is purposefully slow and minimal, giving the killer character ample room to reveal himself while both doing the simplest things and, especially, when interacting with those around him. This film is the higher brained cousin of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.I think its important to note that the killer in Vengeance is Mine, is by no means a serial killer. I've heard him described as that, and its a misinformed judgement. A serial killers pathology revolves around sex. In this film, the killer murders out of a distance, a coldness for human life. He kills for money, shelter, for survival, having little care (although he does try) for anyones life but his own."