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The Films of Shinya Tsukamoto

Adventures of Electric Rod Boy

Tetsuo, the Iron Man

Hiruko the Goblin

Tetsuo II: Body Hammer

Tokyo Fist

Bullet Ballet


A Snake of June (April 3/05)

From Shinya Tsukamoto, director of the astoundingly incoherent Tetsuo, the Iron Man, comes this equally insufferable story about a repressed married couple who find themselves under attack from a bizarre half-man/half-octopus type creature (and that's one of the more accessible aspects of the film!) Tsukamoto, who also wrote the screenplay, peppers A Snake of June with a variety of incomprehensible elements, as though he's daring viewers to actually sit through the entire thing. Making things worse is the atrocious blue-and-white cinematography, which becomes tiresome and annoying within the first few minutes of the film. Though Tsukamoto has plenty of experience behind the camera, the filmmaker's inept directorial choices and apparent hatred of conventional structure (or, heck, any kind of structure) effectively transforms A Snake of June into an unforgettably excruciating experience.

no stars out of

Vital (January 26/13)

A typically worthless endeavor from noted hack Shinya Tsukamoto, Vital follows Tadanobu Asano's Hiroshi Takagi as he emerges from a car crash unable to remember anything about his life - including the girlfriend (Nami Tsukamoto's Ryôko Ooyama) that was killed in the deadly collision. In an attempt at recovering his memories, Takagi discovers several textbooks and subsequently decides to resume his studies at a local medical school - with problems ensuing as Takagi is eventually assigned the task of dissecting the corpse of his aforementioned girlfriend. It's a straight-forward and promising setup that's employed to hopelessly incoherent effect by Tsukamoto, as the filmmaker's refusal to offer up a hint of context or character development holds the viewer at arm's length from start to finish (ie it's never clear just what's going on or what's driving Takagi forward). The film's hands-off atmosphere is compounded by Asano's infuriatingly deadpan/wooden turn as the one-dimensional protagonist, and there's little doubt that Takagi's increasingly aimless/baffling exploits will test the patience of even the most sedate viewer. By the time the laughably nonsensical ending rolls around, Vital has clearly established itself as just another in a long line of contemptible and absolutely inconsequential efforts from Tsukamoto - with the talentless director's continued ability to find funding for his epically loathsome projects nothing short of astounding.

no stars out of


Nightmare Detective (May 31/08)

Chockablock with some of the worst attributes that the J-horror genre has to offer, Nightmare Detective is nothing short of an interminable mess that's utterly unable to engage the viewer on any level whatsoever - with the infuriatingly baffling storyline and nausea-inducing visuals certainly standing tall above the film's myriad of transgressions. Writer/director Shinya Tsukamoto - he of such unwatchable fare as A Snake of June and Tetsuo - possesses a palpable disdain for his audience that's evident in virtually every frame of the proceedings, with the filmmaker's refusal to offer up even the most elementary of cinematic conventions quickly transforming Nightmare Detective into as unwatchable an endeavor as one could possibly imagine. The wafer-thin storyline - which has something to do with the title character's efforts at stopping a dream-based serial killer - has been augmented with a whole host of needlessly oddball elements that grow increasingly prevalent as the movie progresses, and it's ultimately impossible to shake the feeling that Tsukomoto is attempting to top himself with every subsequent bit of inexplicable nonsense. And while it's hard to deny the effectiveness of some of the film's appreciatively brutal kill sequences, there reaches a point at which Tsukomoto's relentlessly unpleasant modus operandi casts a pall of sheer tedium over the proceedings. If A Snake of June hadn't already, Nightmare Detective would surely cement Tsukomoto's status as one of the most egregiously untalented and flat-out worthless filmmakers around and it's downright astounding that the man continues to receive funding for his artistically-bankrupt endeavors.

no stars out of

Nightmare Detective 2

Tetsuo: The Bullet Man


Fires on the Plain

© David Nusair