By Spank The Monkey
At the Cannes festival last month, you could see – and hear, thanks to some conspicuous booing – the breakdown of the love-in between Western critics and Japanese director Takashi Miike, as his latest thriller Shield Of Straw got very short shrift indeed. Does this mark the end of Miike’s career as the go-to director for Asian weirdness? I suppose it depends on whether you trust the judgment of the sort of wankers who think that yelling at projected images will improve them.
Perhaps it’s the end of the respectable phase of Miike’s career – after a couple of years of working on the sort of serious drama that attracts festival programmers, he’s going back to just doing whatever takes his fancy. That’s not to say the boo-ers are wrong, though: in a career that’s getting close to hitting the 100 feature mark, he’s made a couple of undeniable stinkers. But no single film in his canon gives you any idea what the ones either side of it will be like. We can go back in time just one year – to June 2012, and the Japanese theatrical release of For Love’s Sake, now available in the UK – for a good example of that.