One of the wackiest films you’ll ever see
I’ve seen some bizarre films in my time, but the Japanese meta-comedy, R100 has to be one of the most bizarre. It opens with a young lady kicking the hell out of a man for no apparent reason in a restaurant. She leaves, but for some reason he goes after her and she turns around to beat him up some more and throws him down stairs. She then removes her clothes to reveal a highly skimpy leather fetish outfit underneath whilst the man looks up and his face disturbingly distorts into a manic grin with some atrocious Moviemaker ripple effects. That’s when you realise that this film is going to be weird. However, it only gets weirder! In a plot similar to David Fincher’s The Game, R100 centres on the idea of a family man joining a club which promises euphoric pleasure by hiring attractive young women to beat the crap out of you at any random moment. The catch is that membership lasts a year and you can’t cancel. You also can’t touch or hurt any of the girls. That’s the intriguing premise of this delightfully wacky film. Anyone expecting a clear narrative can leave now. The less you know the better, I knew virtually nothing about this film and came out feeling highly amused and bemused in equal measure.
Not everything in R100 does work. I found it a tad too sentimental at times with the relationship between the dad and son being rubbed in our faces. The whole wife in a coma thing was also over-played to get a heart-warming reaction from the audience. A lot of things in the first hour also start to feel a little repetitive with the same jokes being played again and again. However, things take an interesting turn when events turn darker by involving the innocent family. I also really liked the postmodern aspect by showing that this is just a film directed by a 100 year-old man who says that no one will understand the film unless they’re 100, hence the film’s title! Things turn seriously koo-koo in the last 30 minutes and the film completely rips up the film school rulebook in an infectiously anarchic manner. All kinds of loopy ideas are thrown at the screen and we’re left with a big puddle-like mess on the floor, however it’s a mess that’s hard to shake out your head. I’m not going to forget the dominatrix army marching to Beethoven for quite a while! It’s surreal to say the least and lacks any kind of explanation, although I’m pretty sure that there is some kind of hidden political message in there somewhere. Trying to find it is high-on impossible though! R100 won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The best thing to do is to leave your brain outside the door and just go along for the big barmy ride! It turns out to be quite an ambitious little number, however not all of its ideas are effective or explored enough. One thing’s for sure though, you won’t forget it in a hurry! I for one would much rather see a film I’m going to remember the next day than some throwaway action film that will be forgotten in minutes. I admired R100 quite a bit.