If something characterizes Takashi Miike’s cinema, is his visual delusions, his dark humor and his excessive extravagance. In recent years, Miike has approached a more serious and personal cinema with films like “13 Assassins” or “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai”, but the truth is that already in 2006, Miike managed to make what is perhaps his most personal, most mature and least recognized film: “Scars of the Sun”, a true study of a society in decline and on the meaning of violence as it depicts the story of how a family man gets to lose everything in an instant.
Buy This Title
After a hard day of work in the office, Mr. Katayama goes to his home to celebrate his birthday with his wife and his little daughter. However, halfway through, he notices a group of teenagers who are attacking a homeless person. Katayama decides not to sit idly by, a decision that will change his life completely. I don’t’ want to reveal anything more about the plot, since “Scars of the Sun” is a true descent to hell which is better to go through for oneself knowing the least possible.
Shο Aikawa, a regular of Miike, makes one of the best performances of his career. Just by looking into his eyes you realize his suffering, the look of a man torn apart, completely separated from everything he loved. The audience gets to feel the pain, the desolation and the burden that this character has to carry, with whom it’s easy to identify with, and implores him to maintain his strength and his determination to grab the culprits who have destroyed his life. This is a film focused exclusively on the character of Katayama, and Sho Aikawa carries out his performance greatly by giving life to this desperate man with a thirst for revenge. Supporting characters like Kamiki, played by Satoshi Morimoto, and other actors like Aiko Sato, Miho Ninagawa and Sei Hiraizumi help considerably in bringing to life this dark and pessimistic story full of violence.
Here Takashi Miike presents himself to be more obscure, more pessimistic and more critical than ever, giving a more objective and serious view than usual in his filmography, dealing with a delicate situation such as the decline of a young generation in a modern society brimming with trends, but at the same time cold and doomed to self-destruction. The strong grey tone of the cinematography by Masato Kaneko helps to give this dark and mysterious touch to the story. There is a key moment in the film that transforms the film to black and white completely, and after a while it returns to color, giving a plot meaning to this artistic decision.
The script by Toshimichi Ohkawa is full of twists and surprises, worthy of a remarkable thriller that keeps you in suspense at all times. Koji Endo’s music also elevates the film to a superb level when it’s present, giving it a dark and gritty tone that suits the story perfectly.
A true portrait of the darkness of the human nature, a reflection on how violence only generates more violence; a whole criticism to nowadays society, where in many cases the under-age are overprotected whatever happens and isolated cases are ignored; and in the middle, a fierce criticism to the mass media business. Violence can come from anywhere and destroy you from the inside and from the outside, and once you enter it, there is no turning back.
In short, I would say that “Scars of the Sun” is one of Takashi Miike’s best films, and according to the moment, I would even dare to say that it is his best movie to date.