This film is further proof of how much more open and expressive Japan is to Freedom of Speech than the US could ever be in our current times. There is no way that any organization in Hollywood would ever be willing or able to support a film as brutal and disturbing as this. Whereas Japan has lower crime rates and a higher degree of free speech depicting gratuitous and disturbing content in films and anime, the US brushes aside and whitewashes active child rape organizations like various Christian Church denominations and mass shooters; in the case of the former, it is to the point there are local districts rattling off the names of credibly accused child raping priests who have died or who can no longer be sued because Christian Churches often conveniently wait for the statue of limitations to expire before going public with the crimes. Mass shootings have proven over time that the US public simply doesn’t care if their own children are murdered by some conspiracy theorist lunatic with a gun. The banality of mass shootings and this pro-child rape behavior is ignored by the US public, whereas in Japan – which emphatically rejected the child rape cult of Christianity and has not yet bowed down to other Abrahamic child rape cults – this simply doesn’t happen. Even acknowledging the recent assassination of Shinzo Abe, Japan is still well-known to be a far safer country than the US in terms of per capita crimes. The fact of the matter is, the US spends so much time and attention trying to censor, weaponize cancel culture, and commit to shunning or shutting down discourse about these issues that the US public willfully ignores reality. Often perpetuating farcical arguments like 13 Reasons Why increased suicides throughout social media, when the statistical data shows there was no difference whatsoever and thus the show had no impact on suicide rates. Yet, the US public decries any “negative” depiction as “supporting” such and such cause and thus needing to be “cancelled” because somehow society will be negatively impacted; Japan has far more creative freedom and no such horrors ever occur in their society and the society is safer. The US public would rather be chasing after delusions based on bad information than actually reforming the society that they live in. A film like this would never be possible in the current cultural atmosphere of the US.
If you don’t want to be spoiled for a disturbing, brutal, and gut-wrenching film with intriguing plot twists; stop reading here. Otherwise, continue on:
Former detective and deadbeat father Akikazu Fujishima looks for his daughter, Kanako, at the behest of his ex-wife and he learns she joined the criminal world. Fujishima learns that Kanako was fucking around with Yakuza men – including old men affiliated with them – and got two of her boyfriends raped by deceiving both of them. The story first implied that she was out for revenge for the death of her first boyfriend, but that plot point turned out to be a red-herring. She was getting them raped – and they’d usually commit suicide – but she saw it as an “act of love” that she gave them. Her mother was worried sick because she had been gone for months and rumors circulated with people wondering what happened to her.
By the end of the film, her father learns she was torn up and buried under the snow and died bleeding to death from her old high school teacher, who wanted revenge because Kanako got her daughter into prostitution – the same prostitution the school teacher got Kanako and several other high school girls into. The teacher made millions by manipulating young girls into forced prostitution for rich, old clients and the Yakuza. It turns out what Kanako did to those two former boyfriends was because it was what happened to her and other young girls who were forced into it by the teacher and a psychologist that the school teacher affiliates with. Kanako claimed she did it all out of “love” and that the teacher killing her was proof of the teacher “loving” her, so she died laughing. The viewer learns further on, after the deadbeat father rapes his ex-wife and proclaims his love to her despite him… physically raping and beating her, that Kanako initially went to the psychologist who abused her after she confessed that her father raped her repeatedly and that her father tried to kill her a few times. Akikazu only realizes after interrogating the psychologist himself that it is true, but still publicly denies it. The deadbeat father thought he would pass out drunk and that the rape and beating was just his wife, but then he remembers, from his woozy drunk memory, that he raped Kanako repeatedly when she was a child and he also tried to choke Kanako to death when she was a kid. The rapes occurred repeatedly while the choking is implied to have been more than once. The revelation that he repeatedly raped, beat, and tried to kill Kanako are spliced with the scenes of him harming his wife in the same manner, and with scenes of him beating and raping a hitman’s wife who was sent to kill him by the Yakuza. He committed the beating and rape to force the hitman out in the open to make it easier to kill him. The story ends with him finding the Teacher, and the Teacher slowly realizing Kanako wasn’t “born evil” which was her justification for killing Kanako, but that Kanako herself was literally traumatized by her father as he’s going crazy trying to dig up her dead body in the snow while he is shouting at the snow, thinking she’s alive. The film ends with no meaningful conclusion and for viewers, the realization the father was the true monster all along who caused Kanako to go into such self-destructive behavior as a way to rationalize the fact that she still loved her father despite all the trauma, pain, and suffering that he caused her leaves a sense of disquiet. The love for her father was platonic, but unhealthy because her father was an abuser and every adult that she tried to trust in her life failed her and also abused her until she was conditioned into becoming a monster as a coping mechanism.
I’d prattle on about how I think the ultimate message is about the hollowness of Christian moral values due to the opening beginning with a Church metaphor and the conclusion ending in a graveyard, but I suspect people would believe I’m putting too much of my own bias into it. In any case, this is an extraordinary and fairly unique film that I recommend watching for those who like disturbing criminal suspense films with a dash of psychological horror. Overall, I’d give it a 10 / 10 as I have never seen or experienced anything like this film before. Not even the Japanese film, Suicide Club, came anywhere near as close to this film in terms of psychological horror.