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Visitor Q
|     review    |     disclaimer     |     notes     |     availability     |
  AKA: Love Cinema Vol. 6  
  Year: 2001  
  Director: Takashi Miike  
  Cast: Kazushi Watanabe, Kenichi Endo, Shungiku Uchida, Jun Muto, Ikko Suzuki, Fujiko, Shoko Nakahara  
  The Skinny : Have you ever done it with your dad? Ever beat up your mom? Ever seen something so insanely over the top, yet incredibly entertaining? This is one of Takashi Miike's best films to date (at least of those released on DVD, which is still only 1/4 of his oeuvre) that manages to further push the boundaries of sex and violence. However, it also hides some intelligent social commentary under tons of skin, blood and - you got that right - milk.  
Review
by LunaSea:
     We've seen countless films about dysfunctional families, but Takashi Miike presents us the extreme. The father (Kenichi Endo) is obsessed with work, trying to finally achieve something meaningful as a TV reporter - even if it involves exploiting his family's problems. He often gets the strangest reactions from interviewees (like a microphone up his ass, diligently filmed by the director), and is ridiculed by his co-workers. His latest attempt involves trying to explore prostitution and violence amongst the youth. As the film opens, we see him trying to interview an attractive girl 15-20 years his junior. Discussion turns quickly into sex, but he gets charged double because he came too early. He soon regrets his decision, though. However, it that because he came too early, he got charged double, or he just did it with...his daughter?
     His wife (Shungiku Uchida of Father Fucker fame) is even stranger. Her favorite pastime is fulfilling old men's fantasies (S&M and who knows what else) to buy her weekly drug fix. They also have a son, who is treated like a stool by the school's bullies (who beat him up every day, and throw fireworks inside the house at night). He releases his tension by beating up his mother for the simplest of reasons, like if the soup isn't hot enough. Their daughter is a young prostitute who ran away from home, and seems to have no problem with incest. Enter Mr. Q (Kazushi Watanabe), the Visitor of the title. Nobody knows him, but after hitting "dad" in the head with a rock, he starts living with the family every day, sharing food and asking questions left and right.
     That's the premise. It leaves out some wildly entertaining details (Ever seen someone have sex with a corpse and get stuck? That's rigor mortis for you), which don't come off as disturbing because Miike goes so overboard with them that they become hilarious. Some grotesque plot developments (which shouldn't be spoiled) smartly hint at commentary Miike is making about today's Japan. He exploits men's sexual insecurities in an ironic fashion. He also explores the place of the father figure in today's society, the problems of bullies in school, and obviously enjo kosai (compensation dating). What the figure of Visitor Q represents is an external factor which brings the family back to reality. He makes them realize their mistakes by bringing their transgressions to an extreme...in a decidedly unusual way.
     Discussing a Takashi Miike film is difficult because revealing any plot point may ruin the fun. And the social commentary Miike often intertwines amongst all his brutal violence and sex is connected to those developments. The reason why Visitor Q fares better than the rest of his films (available on DVD) is because its message is more clear. Its violence and sex are treated with a more irreverent irony than in Dead or Alive or Audition. It's a smarter film, and even if it pushes the boundaries to the extreme, it manages to not disgust. Visitor Q is a wild ride, but keep the kiddies at home, I'm afraid it will take a little more than usual to explain Miike's message to them. Or just do like Visitor Q does, and hit them in the head with a rock*. Maybe that'll work... (LunaSea 2002)
Disclaimer: *The governing body of LoveHKFilm.com would like to clarify that we in no way endorse the bludgeoning of children's heads with rocks. If such an incident does come to pass, we ask that we be absolved of any blame in that matter. And, we would also be willing to provide the reviewer's full name and current location, which at that time will probably be someplace far from civilization and its accepted forms of law enforcement.
Notes: • "Love Cinema" is a V-Cinema (Straight-To-Video in Japan) series of films shot on DV by Miike, Ryuichi Hiroki, Mitsuhiro Miura, Akihiko Shiota, Yukisada Isao, and Tetsuo Shinohara.
Availability:

DVD (USA)
Region 1 NTSC
Media Blasters
Japanese Language Track
English Subtitles

DVD (Germany)
Region 0 PAL
Rapid Eye Movies
Uncut Version
Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio)
Japanese Language Track
Removable English & German Subtitles
 

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