Oh for…errrr…love’s…sake!


Directed by: Takashi Miike

Written by: Ikki Kajiwara, Takumi Nagayasu, Takayuki Takuma

Featuring:  Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Takumi Saitoh, Ito Ohno, Masachika Ichimura, Yo Hitoto, Kimiko Yo, Seishirô Katô, Sakura Andô

Makoto is trouble, he is a rough, tough, street hood and is on the streets of Tokyo looking to get revenge on those that wronged him before. Ai is the daughter of a rich and privileged family, yet these polar opposites attract but to complicate matters further Gumko the toughest gang’s lieutenant enforcer falls for him as does the big boss Yuki. From this point on things can only get more troubled and more complicated…. with songs!

The first two-thirds of this film are obviously a pastiche of gangster gang movies and musicals. It is clear that Takashi Miike does not want you to take the dance routines or gang-fighting seriously and as such overall it works, even for me, although I found it hard to see the humour in some of the set pieces thinking them just cheesy but not intentionally cheesy, so to my thinking that means Miike got it wrong – well for my sensibilities anyway.    

The huge hump in the road though is that the musical numbers and parody seem to disappear in the final third of the film which becomes an anchor around the running time and sucks any fun you might have been having from the film, making it dull and a bit grey to watch.

The fight sequences, whilst never meant to be realistic, start to become a porridge of ‘ooffs’ and ‘aaahs’ as various folk queue up to get battered – again. The ragged choreographed dance sequences are few and far between as the film progresses and although camp and bit bizarre the absence of them as the film winds down takes what sheen there is off the film.

Like a lot of Takashi Miike films there is a huge element of self-indulgence and definitely a certain sense of humour that he works with, if it misses you then the chances are you will be bored to tears shortly after the start, if you can tolerate the self-indulgence you will watch to the end, and if you love Miike’s output you will love this addition.

As a parody of certain Japanese genres, I will admit I was mainly baffled as my knowledge of these topics is not strong. Was the leering almost upskirt shots of the women in the standard Japanese schoolgirl uniforms and statement or just standard? The dangerously paedophilic atmosphere at the ‘bar,’ was that a statement or just the norm for these types of films? It got a bit too voyeuristic for me and close to up-skirting at times. Clearly, the lack of understanding of where the director’s intentions lie is with me, but I did feel uncomfortable at times in sections that were meant to be quick plot points and just there for laughs, not controversy.

The acting is overegged for the type of story although I did feel that Satoshi Tsumabuki was not charismatic enough for the role of the bad-boy, generally though everything was fine in this department. The choreography was loose, but I believe this was deliberate with the director not wanting perfect tip top dance moves, the songs were interesting and odd and obviously added postproduction in ADR which adds another surreal level to the viewing.

The settings were so chalk and cheese and on the nose that it had to be satire. The prep school being as preppy as possible and the college looking as if it was a surplus set from Mad Max. A bit too over the top for me, a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

For Love’s Sake is not a film for everyone, perhaps it is for a narrow band of manga and Miike aficionados but for the average movie watching it might be a Japanese step too far. For me, I am glad I watched it, but I would not go out of my way to watch it again.

A Takashi Miike film that is a tad quirky and strange? Surely not!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s