The good folks at Drafthouse Films seem to have an eye for interesting foreign and domestic films. Last year I fell in love with multiple titles (Nothing Bad Can Happen and Why Don’t You Play In Hell) and this year is no different. The World Of Kanako is a brutal, yet stylish tale of revenge that does not follow any paint by numbers structure. Violence is at the epicenter of the film and everyone suffers throughout its 118 minute runtime. Blood sprays, people are terrorized and no one escapes unscathed. As violent as it is, this film is also very playful and sprinkles in quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor that can be a relief, but (at times) can also kill the pace of the movie.
The film follows an ex-detective by the name Akikuzu who is investigating the disappearance of his daughter, the titular Kanako. As he digs deeper and deeper into her private life he uncovers a story of brutality, drugs and sex that only feeds into the rage of our wayward hero. From this point we embark on a tour de force of murder and mayhem. As Akikuzu descends further into her private life, he loses more and more of his humanity until he no longer wants to save his daughter…but to kill Kanako himself.
The World of Kanako is a grim flick that relies heavily on its style. The truth is, without the style and camerawork it would be exhausting to watch this kind of intense abuse and hate. Every twist and turn is darker than the last and it walks the line of absurdity that could fall apart at any moment. The greatest downfall of the film are these drastic shifts in tone. One moment a man is beating his wife and the next he is doing a slapstick routine. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. The filmmaker is confident in his craft and tricks its viewer to accept the strangest of explanations and scenarios. But lets be honest, isn’t this why we love the extreme films of Japan in the first place? The World Of Kanako is currently available on all VOD platforms.