Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hazard (4 Stars)

This is a departure in style from the other films I've seen directed by Sion Sono. Most of the film takes place in New York, and the usual religious symbolism is missing. In addition the cinematography is different, most of the action being filmed with a hand held camera.

Shin is a shy young boy who goes to America on holiday. Within an hour of arriving he's robbed of everything he's carrying. He spends a week sleeping on the streets, and then he meets two Japanese Americans who take him under their wing. Lee and Takeda are confusing characters. They make a living by driving round the city in an ice cream van selling ice cream laced with drugs. They also rob shops armed with shotguns. Amusingly, they take Shin with them to learn English. While Lee and Takeda hold the guns Shin stands reading from a Japanese-English phrasebook. "Wait, let me find the page. Give. Me. Your. Money. Is that right?"

Lee is also fascinated by the poetry of Walt Whitman and tries to explain it to Shin. Takeda accompanies Lee on his escapades, but his main interest is in a waitress called Nancy who he loves from afar.

This is a chaotic film, like most of Sion Sono's films. Things happen for no apparent purpose. Lee and Takeda don't really seem like gangsters, they just rob shops for the fun of it.

This film hasn't yet been released in England or America, but luckily it's available in Germany. As with most German films the DVD isn't subtitled, it's dubbed. Both English and German dubbing is available on the disc, but I could hardly understand the English dialog, the German is much clearer.

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