Monday, March 23, 2015

Review of "R100".

A Japanese shop worker whose wife is in a coma signs up to a mysterious S&M agency (‘Bondage Corp.’) to provide him with surprise dominatrix attacks in public places, which appears to be the only way he can obtain some sort of ecstasy.

At first it goes well, and we see him reaching this state in a wide range of places – a coffee bar, a sushi counter, the street, even a children’s playground. But the agency increasingly crosses the boundaries between those domains where the protagonist thinks interaction with the dominatrices are appropriate. He’s happy to be attacked in proper ‘public’ – he’s obviously got a thing about being humiliated in front of strangers, but not in his house (where his seven-year old son is cared for by his retired father-in-law) his place of employment, or the hospital room where he sits by the bed of his unconscious wife.

He seeks to have the contract cancelled but is told that he can’t. He goes to the police, but of course they are not interested in what perverts get up to, or enforcing some incomprehensible distinction between acceptable and unacceptable humiliation.

Then he accidentally kills one of the women who has him tied up at home on a waterproof sheet so that she can spit at him. From here on the film moves into pastiche thriller. The CEO of Bondage Corp, a large blonde latex-clad American, flies in the corporate jet to supervise the company’s revenge. Lots of madcap car chases and cartoon violence, as an army of leather-wearing ninja women attempt to storm the father-in-law’s house in the forest while the protagonist holds them off with a box of hand-grenades that he has found.

There are some additional surreal touches. We see a group of people discussing what the film is about between scenes. We see the film-maker watching his movie in a private screening. The characters keep wondering whether they've just felt a minor tremor that might signal an earthquake, though it never materialises. It’s silly, not very erotic, and a not particularly profound exploration of the psychological dimensions of S&M fantasies. Probably better than ‘Fifty Shades’, though.

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