Sundance 2014: R100 Review


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Release Date: TBD
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 5.5/10

Hitoshi Matsumoto’s latest bit of bizarre Japanese weirdness is a film that is difficult to explain and even more difficult to judge, considering the director himself criticizes the movie while it’s playing.  R100 is a tricky beast in that it’s not good, but the incongruencies with the plot are something that the director clearly relishes and loves throwing at people.  It’s completely over the top, not much of it makes any sense at all, and most people will leave the theater wondering what they just witnessed.  But again, that’s what you’d expect from a surreal piece of Japanese sleaze.

The film revolves around a man who decides to spice up his depressing existence by hiring an escort service specializing in S&M and bondage.  The trick is however, that for one full year, he will be met randomly by different women who will carry out various humiliating bits of torture on him in order to get his rocks off. Mastumoto makes sure the viewer knows when this happens, as we can see ripples of ecstasy permeate from his body.

After the women start to come too close to his family, the man tries to call off the contract to no avail.   Then, after a mishap involving an overweight woman and gallons of saliva, he finds himself a target of the group who set out to kill him.

Each woman has a special talent and a nickname given to her that we see plastered on the screen.  There’s the Queen of Voices, who can impersonate anyone, even those she’s never heard before, the Queen of Saliva, who we mentioned previously, and the Queen of Gobbling, just to name a few.  The Queen of Gobbling by the way, eats people.

Periodically throughout the film it cuts to a nervous group of studio execs who criticize the scene we just saw, picking apart the logic problems and continuity errors.  Not only are these scenes hilarious, but they give the impression that the only reason Matsumoto created this film in the first place was to give a big “fuck you” to the studios.

While all if this wackiness is fun and incredibly bizarre, the film ultimately wears out its welcome.  Many of the scenes drag on for entirely too long, and by the third or fourth time we visit the studio execs it’s like we get it.

R100 is not a movie for everyone.  In fact, it’s not a movie for most.  It’s completely absurd in every way like Matsumoto’s Big Man Japan, but unlike Big Man Japan it’s just not as fun.  There are moments of hilarity, but the over the top nature feels like it’s just too much.  One thing is for sure though, you definitely won’t see anything quite like R100.

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