Inside a juvenile detention center, two young prisoners from vastly different backgrounds experience a bond that transcends their tormented past. As they open their hearts to each other, life around them dissolves between... more » a real world murder mystery, and a surreal journey filled with images of a primitive past and an ambiguous future.« less
Maria P. (Cookielu1999) from NEWPORT BEACH, CA Reviewed on 2/20/2008...
A visually stunning art film. If you appreciate dance then you will enjoy the athletic solo dance near the beginning. The cast, the lighting, the color - all beautiful. IMHO this is a love it or hate it film.
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An Unknown Future
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 12/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Big Bang Love Juvenile A"
An Unknown Future
Two detectives following the case of a boy who confessed to the murder of another boy in a juvenile detention center is what "Big Bang Love Juvenile A" is about. There is a great deal of homosexual tension and violence here and we get some incredible visuals in this Japanese film. Directed by Takeshi Miike, an amazing auteur, here is a shocking and beautiful spectacle which explores the nature of existence. The world of the film is the fantasy world of young criminals with rites of initiation, fights for supremacy and violent actions. The movie is alive with sensuousness and intellectualism. From the very first scene of three generations of men--a young father, an old man and a boy, you are pulled into the film. The father dances suggestively and primitively. It is the kind of dance that brings the internal to the fore. From the dance, we go to a prison at a dubious location. It is nowhere--nowhere that is everywhere. It is where past and future meet, where religion confronts science and where hope and despair converge and collide and where life is hell. Our two main characters, Ariyoshi and Kazuki are studies in radical contrast. Ariyoshi comes across as weak and passive, somewhat fragile and in prison for murder. He wants badly to be loved but feels that this will never happen in light of what he has done. When he murdered a man, he did away with his own innocence. Kazuki seems to be tough and exerts aggressive behavior. He acts before thinking but we see he is filled with pain and fear. Miike shows the ambiguity of morality during acts of violence. He exposes violence for what it really is--personal endeavor. It is something that cannot be explained or understood and only the person committing the act is able to understand it. We see a world where men live under hypocritical laws which received their structure from a very twisted version of religious ethics. The prison has the atmosphere of a Buddhist temple. At every corner are light, shadow, heat and flesh. In itself, this is an enigmatic film and hard to understand all of it but the story holds attention. It is a contemplative view of homoerotic love and violence. I feel that Miike tries to convey Buddhist reflections about life. The prison, representing the false appearances of the world is contrasted with the symbols of the rocket and the pyramid we see which represent escape from this world. This movie has a great deal going for it--a powerful story, great motives, beautiful and brilliant colors, extremely talented actors and stylistic ideas. As the movie unfolds, we follow the relationship of the two characters and we grow to understand them and Miike's vision. The realism is brutal and beautiful. While many viewers may get lost, I can only say that if they stick it out until the end of the film, they will be greatly rewarded. "
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 02/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Before delving into this review I must admit that I am not really a fan of Miike Takashi's films. I have watched Audition, Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, and The Happiness of the Katakuris, among others, but for the most part the filmic world of Miike's films have left me a bit cold. I have definitely had my "oh my god" and "holy crap" moments will watching the films, but as a whole I have found them to be empty experiences that go little beyond gore, excessive violence, and absurd situations. (Maybe I should try other films by him?) Anyway, the main reason why I watched Big Bang Love, Juvenile A yesterday was because of its short duration, but I watched it again today because the diaphanous, evasive plot seemed to be hiding something more...
After a bizarre opening sequence, or two, two detectives introduce the fact that a murder has taken place. An inmate named Kazuki Shiro has been murdered by another named Ariyoshi Jun. However, some facts just do not add up and the detectives investigate the murder. Ariyoshi Jun, Matsuda Ryuhei, was put into prison after he murdered the man who raped him. Although it was in self defense, the grisly manner in which Ariyoshi mutilated the body repeatedly throughout the night made the self defense aspect a bit suspect. Kazuki Shiro, a young hoodlum with an amazing tattoo on his back, punched another man to death and has a long record of violence. However, the two strike up a tender relationship with many homoerotic undertones, so when the effeminate Ariyoshi murders the stronger Kazuki by strangling it is a bit puzzling.
The above plot summary does little justice to the bizarreness that is pervasive throughout the entirety of the film. Set in a bizarre future setting within a prison flanked by a huge rocket ship on one side and a Mayan pyramid on the other, the film actually has a timelessness aspect to it. Cut off from the outside world, time ceases to flow, and guilt of crimes fester until they almost reach bursting point. It is this festering that makes the film interesting, beyond the evasive storyline, strange setting, etc.; it is festering guilt that makes this film stand out a bit from others in Miike's body of work. Tom Mes of midnighteye.com states that "This is a Takashi Miike Film. It will make you wonder, curse, marvel, tremble, scratch your head, grow bored, and awaken rudely. Celebrate it." While I might not quite be "celebrating" the film, it has jabbed a serrated sliver of thought into my brain and it is one that seems like it will be there for quite awhile."
A first for me
Derrick Jenkins | Hampton VA USA | 03/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i've honestly not heard of Takashi Miike, i saw some of the trailers on this that really interested me by him as well. But for Big Bang Love i havent had a movie of this nature really affect me the way this one did. Incorporating violence and so many other aspects and putting it in such a small, enclosed area prison with all kinds of people. Its only natural that all sorts of violence would erupt from this. Something else also comes from it though a love however strange it maybe what ties this two men together. But there bond for each grows throughout the movie and while not long running at 86 minutes.
There is more than enough time for anyone to become attached and even other prisoners arent closed minded about the things that happen. Some see it as a way of getting in better with key officials by "doing" whatever is necessary to make the bleak and dark conditions just a little bit better. In the Big Bang Love grabbed me because it felt real to me and that the people involved were putting their all and every ounce of energy into to making something that get that attention and interest of many. I highly recommend this movie."
Brian Lueth | Chicago, IL United States | 09/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Man, Big Bang Love, Juvenile A is one tough cookie to crack! If you're an admirer of Takashi Miike (pronounced MEE-KAY) and his other surreal works like Gozu, Izo and Box...you're definitely going to "enjoy" this beautiful oddity. Those of you that "fanned up" after Ichi The Killer and Audition may want to tread carefully because Big Bang Love, Juvenile A isn't an easy watch at all. It's homoerotic, German Expressionist cinema mixed with chaotic, religious and scientific symbolism; a neo-noir prison romance.
Would I recommend this film based on the acting and cinematography alone? Absolutely. Overall, Takashi Miike's mis-en-scène is breathtaking and, according to his personal DVD blurb, this is his masterpiece. Who can argue with the man? If he feels this is his masterpiece, so be it. One thing Big Bang Love, Juvenile A is not though...is entertaining. This film is almost completely bereft of any entertainment value, it's art plain and simple and, as we all know, art doesn't always have to entertain to be significant. Personally, I thought this was an amazing film and I'll probably require a few more viewings to grasp some of the imagery present but this will more than likely never leave my home. It's a fascinating film, very personal and far from being a crowd pleaser.
Films that provoke thought or emotional responses are often misunderstood. The topics of gender and love, religion and science, past, present and future and punishment versus rehabilitation are rarely looked upon as entertaining so be aware before renting or purchasing this that it just may not be for you. I'd still recommend giving it a try."
Not his masterpiece but one of his better films
Richard Ross | 02/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"On the cover art for this DVD Takashi Miike declares that "This is my masterpiece." I hate to disagree with him but I think Audition remains his best film. Fortunately that film and this one have a lot in common. They both have brilliant uses of color and odd shot compositions designed to make you uneasy and unsure of your surroundings. This film takes place in an all male prison. Two new inmates are admitted on the same day. Though strangers to each other both men have a lot in common. At some point in their lives they were sexually abused and both men committed violent murders which landed them in jail. One is shy and vulnerable the other tough and aggressive. The more violent of the two finds himself beating up the guards and his cellmates as soon as he arrives. He also acts as protector for his new friend. The two men slowly open up to one another and reveal very little about their past instead choosing to talk about the possibility of getting out of prison and whether they would like to go to heaven or space. The violent man chooses space since heaven would have people in it and it has been his experience that people just depress and disappoint you. There is an attraction between the two men that is hinted at but we never know if they act on that impulse. What sets the plot in motion is when a murder is committed. The violent man lays dead while the shy man is on top of him with his hands around his neck. As the guards pull him off he freely admits that he did it. It would seem like a no brainer since the victim was obviously strangled to death and here is the suspect with his hands still attached to his throat. The mystery deepens since seemingly everyone in the prison had a motive for killing this man. It could have been any one of the dozens of men he beat up or even the warden who has his own painful reason for revenge against the man. An investigation follows which is very entertaining to watch. Miike employs flashbacks to the two men's youth and also the murders that landed them in jail. He shows some scenes up to four times, sometimes from a different angle, but each time revealing a little more in context. Everything is answered in the end but until it is things are a bit confusing. In the excellent bonus features on Disc 2 the actors confess to not understanding the script after they initially read it and still admit some confusion as to what is really going on. There is also an interview with Miike included. This film like other Miike films reminds me of the work of David Lynch, both for their strong and unusual visual style, but mainly for the fact that no matter how hard you try to pay attention and catch every clue it still seems like things aren't adding up. This is a very strong effort from Miike and the DVD has some good bonus features that try to explain some of the meanings of the film."