Genre: Psychotic Thriller
review in one breath
The mind-boggling bizarre murders continue as Amamiya Kazuhiko inches closer toward the psychically elusive masochist Nishizono Shinji. In this second of three installments of director Miike Takashi's visually hypnotic sci-fi crime thriller, we gain further insight into the past of Amamiya and his early relationship with his now nemesis Nishizono. The pace, visuals and pure intrigue of this series remains as high as ever, as does its completely baffling storyline.
MPD Psycho is a six-episode series directed by Miike Takashi which originally appeared on Japanese TV. The entire series has now been made available on 3 separate Region 1 DVDs, with each DVD containing two episodes. Below are links to the entire series:
The fact that MPD Psycho was originally a well-received TV miniseries is rather common knowledge, but the particulars of the project seem to be unusually hard to come by. For example there is no such title (or similar title) listed under Miike's filmography in JMDb. (In fact the title does not appear at all in JMDb.)
IMDb (erroneously) lists the Japanese title of the series as "Tajuu jinkaku tantei saiko - Amamiya Kazuhiko no kikan". This is actually the title of the manga by author Eiji Otsuka upon which Miike's live-action version is based (and is NOT the title of Miike's series). But of course since IMDb declares the film's title to be such, the error is picked up and perpetuated across the internet by English-dependent review sites like a bad nihongo virus. (Ah-choo!)
BUT If you think I am going to set the picture straight here once and for all, I am sorry to disappoint. The truth is, this film is so baffling (I have not seen the concluding two episodes yet) that seeking "conclusions" about this film completely contradicts the experience which Miike has in mind for audiences. (So I guess this means that depending on how I feel about the series' conclusion after watching 3 DVDs-worth of psychedelically brain-imploding content we may or may not all finally know what the hell this thing really is.)
The narrative here is almost completely beyond meaningful description, especially due to the fact that this particular DVD contains only episodes 3 & 4 of a six episode series. In any event, here we go:
An ever evolving and increasingly bizarre series (as in different modus operandi) of serial killings are plaguing the Tokyo area. The Tokyo Police Force has assigned investigator Sasayama Tooru (wonderfully and comedically played by Ren Osugi) to oversee the truly gruesome and wholly unprecedented murders. To his execs, Sasayama presents only the facts gathered, but there is far more to the story than he can possibly share with them.
Working closely with Amamiya Kazuhiko, a genuis "profiler" of unparalleled intuition (who by the way is subject to multiple personality disorder (MPD - see MPD Psycho 1) and was recently known as Kobayashia Yôsuke) Sasayama gains inexplicable insight into, well, even more inexplicable strangeness.
Sasayama and Amamiya both know precisely who the killer is in all these scenarios - Nishizono Shinji. The only problem is that Nishizono is not a "person" per se but a psychic entity which can transfer from body to body. This, of course, complicates matters tremendously.
I'm still 100% on board in wanting to follow this truly weird tale to its conclusion. I can only hope and pray that its finale is worth all the brain-power I've invested simply in keeping this 3 DVD narrative-whirlwind conceptually intact in my increasingly dwindling virtual (grey-matter) memory.
But to be honest, each episode/DVD will undoubtedly leave you hungry for more, since this puzzle is so convincingly deep and intricate that you (I dare say) have no hope of guessing the outcome. Miike's creative and often unexpected diversions guarantee that this storyline becomes anything but stale or slow in its hypnotic pursuit of twisted, ultimate truth.
Let's meet again at the review of the final 2 episodes, shall we? You know where to find me.
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD available via mainstream US venues.
|Continued eye-candy from this sci-fi crime thriller by director Miike Takashi||Rather strong narrative violence, though most is implied rather than graphically depicted. (The original TV censorship/filters remain intact even for the DVD releases.)||Only the slightest non-visual nod toward sensuality.||I've gotta admit, I am wholly riveted and am looking forward to solving this entire mystery once I get my hands on DVD 3.|