Utilizing a lovers-on-the-lam framework to shoot off some of his trademark techno-brat effects, Takashi Miike’s City of Lost Souls is as morose and disturbing as it is infused with a sense of the madcap. Japanese-Brazilian Mario (played with camera-mugging precociousness by Teah) and his lover Kai (Michele Reis) are planning an escape to anyplace that isn’t Tokyo. Trouble is that Chinese mob boss Ko (the silky, genderless Mitsuhiro Oikawa) is nursing a monster crush on Kai; he even has hand-painted doll toys representing her strewn about his cave hideout. So, of course, Mario and Kai figure that the best way to score the mother lode of cash needed to appease their piggish illicit travel agent is to double-cross Ko and Fushimi (Koji Kikkawa), the yazuka warlord he’s doing business with. Naturally, their plans derail and Miike reflects the confusion of their plight with sideshow set pieces like the Matrix-inspired cockfight and midget toilet humor. Miike stirs an uneasy blend between the histrionic and the sedate (every scene Ko appears in revolves around his hurricane-eye concentration), and the wackiness of many earlier scenes sets up for an emotional finale that is, in reality, the film’s ultimatum for misunderstood puppy love.
- Vitagraph Films
- 105 min
- Takashi Miike
- Ichiro Ryu
- Teah, Michele Reis, Patricia Manterola, Koji Kikkawa, Ren Osugi, Akaji Maro, Mitsuhiro Oikawa
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: