Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Now this may be controversial, but I don't really like Tetsuo.

Thumping industrial soundtrack aside, it comes off like a pretentious, under-developed student film. It's full of frenetic, yet hackneyed Surrealism which seems designed to batter the viewer into submission in the hope they won't notice what a crock it is. Or how much it's lifted, visually, if not conceptually, from the likes of Eraserhead, Videodrome and The Fly.

Minimal narrative coherence, vomit-inducing camera work and disjointed, meaninglessly sadistic action sequences filmed in grainy black and white stock make for an unpleasant viewing experience. The constant sensory barrage means that despite having a relatively short run time at 70 minutes, it still seems too long. With spartan dialogue and nothing in the way of character development, it's hard to feel empathy with anyone involved or to overcome a grinding sense of indifference.

I had thought 964 Pinnochio would prove to be a pale imitation of Tetsuo; turns out it's about on the same level - albeit slightly longer and, just possibly, slightly better.

Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989