A psychotic vigilante goes up against a sadomasochistic
Yakuza gangster who dreams of feeling new levels of pain.
Ichi the Killer (2001)
Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Sakichi Sato
Starring Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ohmori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Jun Kunimura, Hiroyuki Tanaka, Shun Sugata
Based on the manga by Hideo Yamamoto
Ichi the Killer may be the most sadistic, sick, and freakish movie I've ever seen, and that's counting everything by Eli Roth. This movie is pure sadomasochistic pain from beginning to end, with a near incoherent story connecting each horrific scene of torture and death. The cast is all fantastic, though I must imagine they were somewhat changed by their experience making this. While technically categorized as an action movie, there are more horror elements in this freakshow then most monster movies, from Kakihara's (Asano) sliced open face to Ichi's (Ohmori) obsession with rape. Most film fans will be disgusted by this one, so enter at your own risk.
Our star players in this one are Yakuza enforcer and masochistic maniac Kakihara and psychotic, rape-loving vigilante Ichi. The film is essentially a battle of wills between these two monsters, with all of the Yakuza and their associates caught in the crossfire. The story does take a bit of time to get invested in, but that's because Takashi Miike's use of flashback isn't made all too clear at first. But the reason you keep going is because you want to see just how elaborate the torture scenes will get, and how far Miike is willing to go here. This is two years after Audition, so his audience wanted something even more depraved. And by God, did he give it to them.
In Ichi the Killer, I saw a man slice off half of his own tongue, I saw a man masturbate to a rape and then orgasm violently, and I saw a man get strung up with meathooks in his back and have hot grease poured down his body. And that's just the first twenty minutes. This movie is a nightmare, and you better hope you know what you're getting into before you give it a whirl. I made the mistake of pairing this with Audition, believing Ichi would be the tamer one. Instead, I was subjected to the most disturbing movie I've seen in years, and once I got invested, I found it to be pretty good.