Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

‘Why Don’t You Play in Hell?’ is an instant cult classic

While audiences and critics are still debating the unbridled ambition of Nolan’s Interstellar, an equally-madcap film (finally) makes its way into North American theaters this weekend. Japanese auteur, Shion Sono, unleashes his demented ode to cinema, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, which might be the most uncanny take on filmmaking since The Player. Armed with inspired gags, impassioned characters and enough blood squibs to drown Tarantino, Sono delivers a visual feast that’s destined to be a cult classic.

‘Why Don’t You Play In Hell’ will make you believe in the movie Gods

In this outrageous action opus from writer/director Sion Sono, an ambitious young film director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) gets caught in the middle of a bloody Yakuza war sparked by the vengeful wife of a powerful crime boss who is sent to prison after massacring several of her husband’s rivals. The plot is so convoluted, your head will spin when trying to piece it all together. In short, it bounces back and forth between Mitsuko (Fumi Nakaido), a former child star and the daughter of the kingpin, and a group of independent, but talented guerrilla filmmakers who call themselves the FUCK Bombers. Mitsuko’s father, one of her biggest fans, wants to satisfy her dream of becoming a movie star before his wife is released from prison. Ten years after the young rebel filmmaker Hirata makes a prayer to the Movie God, his wish is finally answered when The FUCK Bombers are offered a chance of a lifetime to shoot an epic 35mm samurai/yakuza feature film starring Mitsuko. The F*** Bombers convince the Muto and Ikegama clans to settle their differences on camera. The two rival groups of gangsters agree and volunteer to be both the film crew and the extras. The film – and the film within a film’s climax — is a prolonged and elaborate bloodbath in which the men slaughter one another on camera for the benefit of a group of struggling filmmakers.

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FNC 2013: ‘Why Don’t You Play In Hell’ will make you believe in the movie Gods

In this outrageous action opus from writer/director Sion Sono, an ambitious young film director Hirata (Hiroki Hasegawa) gets caught in the middle of a bloody Yakuza war sparked by the vengeful wife of a powerful crime boss who is sent to prison after massacring several of her husband’s rivals. The plot is so convoluted, your head will spin when trying to piece it all together. In short, it bounces back and forth between Mitsuko (Fumi Nakaido), a former child star and the daughter of the kingpin, and a group of independent, but talented guerrilla filmmakers who call themselves the FUCK Bombers.

TIFF 2013: ‘Why Don’t You Play In Hell?’ a playful, carnage-strewn valentine to Asian cinema

It can be fascinating to see how different parts of the global film community plug into the playpen of cinema history, deconstructing genres and clichés and pulverizing storytelling platitudes that are the trademarks of lowest common denominator product. Sion Sono bullies his way into this arena with his new film culled from a long established script. It’s a playful and carnage-strewn valentine to Asian cinema contortions, in his extremely funny and acutely observed Why Don’t You Play In Hell?.

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