Review – R100
What kind of movie do you want to see tonight? A drama? A thriller? Maybe an off-the-hook Japanese film about BDSM that’s utterly incomprehensible? If so, R100 is your film. Everyone else, you have been warned.
A sombre salaryman signs up for a year’s worth of dominatrix services, with a catch. He’ll never know when or where a Queen will appear, and cancellations are forbidden. Looking after his young son while his wife remains in a long-term coma, Takafumi Katayama (Nao Ōmori) is a sad man searching for a kick. He certainly gets a couple.
The film begins with Pulp Fiction-esque attitude, and Takafumi’s mundane life continues to be punctuated with appearances by leather-clad ladies. At first, the sadness of this man’s existence and his need for an exciting escape seem to give rationale and purpose to the plot. But the film makes less and less sense as it goes on. With a plethora of increasingly bizarre scenes, you are occasionally lifted from the narrative so that suited men – apparently film distributors – can reflect on the insanity of the content. You’ll have no choice but to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
Writer-director Hitoshi Matsumoto clearly doesn’t take himself or the film too seriously, and there is no underlying message other than to enjoy the spectacle for what it is. R100 leaves your head spinning, and of all the questions left unanswered, the one you’re guaranteed to ask is “did I really just watch that?” There’s bound (pun intended) to be an incident or two you’ll enjoy, and that fleeting moment will probably scar your mind for some time. If you can settle for that, or if you enjoy Japanese eccentricity in its own right, R100 will be a memorable experience.