Sleeper of the Week takes a film that only few critics have seen and shines some
light on it.
“Why Don’t You Play In Hell?”
Dir: Sion Sono
Criticwire Average: A-
Sure, Francois Truffaut got an Oscar nomination for “Day for Night,” but did he feature a cinephile club called “The Fuck Bombers”? We think not. Sion Sono’s “Why Don’t You Play In Hell?” also features warring yakuza gangs, a mob boss’ jailbird wife, and the boss’ attempts to get his daughter a leading role, all as “The Fuck Bombers” try to make an action film on-the-fly by filming gang battles and casting the boss’ daughter.
Convoluted? You bet, but Sono keeps the blood flying and the insane formal gambits going to the point where it doesn’t get bogged down. The film plays very clearly to the Midnight Madness crowd, but it’s also an uninhibited celebration of action cinema from “Die Hard” to “Kill Bill” to Bruce Lee, all in the form of a Zucker-like slapstick movie that promotes traditional film over video. It’s a film that doesn’t know restraint, and it’s all the better for it.
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Adam Batty, 24 Frames Per Second
Such fond pastiche is part and parcel with Sono’s film, which might just be the most out and out fun take there has ever been on this particular subject matter. Grandstanding comedy punctuates every scene, with a broadness that never stumbles in to being lazy, while a colorful visceral palette ensures that the aesthetic code of the picture stands at odds with the grim memorandum it delivers. Read more.
Joe Bendel, Libertas Film Magazine
When it comes to over-the-top, outrageously gory comedic violence, Sono’s latest film stands tall, in a field all its own. The sheer level of mayhem Sono unleashes in the third act would even leave Itchy & Scratchy slack-jawed. It is impressive. Read more.
Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist
Mostly, the film’s very funny, Sono displaying a sense of how to frame and time a visual gag that feels positively Zucker-ish. But there are real stakes, and bursts of real feeling too — most effectively in the relationship between Mitsuko and her father — and once characters start being sliced and impaled, you feel for almost all of them. Even with everything that goes on in the film, it’s not without its melancholic moments. Read more.