DVD Review: Crime Or Punishment!?! A Film By Keralino Sandorovich
A zany slapstick comedy from Third Window Films!
Crime or punishment!?! is the latest offering from writer/director Keralino Sandorovich and is a multi-layered, multi-character comedy with elements of almost all other genres thrown in for good measure. When people in the West think of Japanese films many may presume that all there is on offer is horror/ thriller. One reason for this is because films of this genre are what Western audiences can identify easiest with because horror/thriller themes are universal and will work in any language, whereas a comedy can be country-specific or even region specific in its themes. Also, to watch only one Japanese comedy would leave anybody scratching their head with insanity on show but if you have had the privilege of seeing a number of these films (thanks in no small part to Third Window Films) then you know what to expect, well almost…
As previously mentioned, Crime or punishment!?! starts off with a mixture of characters and stories, from a trio of hapless would be criminals to the death of a lonely man, setting off a series of events that weaves the thread of the movie together. However the main story centres on Ayame Enjoji (Riko Narumi) an unsuccessful girl celebrity who takes on a PR role as a police chief for a day . She also encounters her ex boyfriend Haruki Onda (Kento Nagayama) who is now a detective at the station and still hides a shocking secret which was the cause for the couple’s separation and her former friend, Momo (Sakura Ando), now a successful model. A major issue transpires which forces Atame to take action. But is she capable of solving the case?
The different strands of the film take a long time to set up and they feel very disconnected for a lot of the time yet they are never dull, relying on humour and absurdity to keep us entertained. The humour is very broad and may not be to everyone’s taste, but there are a number of laugh-out-loud moments that no one could deny. For instance, the slapstick moments that include two policemen at urinals, some taser (an electroshock weapon) related sexual acts and the psycho analysis of Haruki from his dead mother, as well as a Sigmund Freud looking German doctor whilst Haruki has fun with one of his victims in the background.
Where Crime or Punishment!?! really excels is the amount of original moments in the humour. There is of course the slapstick but there are some more subtle moments too. We have scenes played out in Ayame’s head and the nicknames she gives for the police force being particular humorous. The principle actors are all good especially Ayame. The only characters which fall into the familiar trap of shouting every line are the trio of criminals but even they stay on the line of being annoying without going overboard and provide some fun moments too. The film also offers some eye-candy with popular idols Eriko Sato (Cutie Honey: The Movie) and Yui Ichikawa (Ju-On I & II).
Crime or Punishment!?! Is a film with a running time of nearly two hours, which is dangerous for a comedy, and whilst the separate stories stay unconnected it feels like longer, but when they do merge together it is all the more satisfying and ultimately uplifting. The film stays beautifully shot the whole way through and never feels less than well made. Overall if you are looking for a zany, funny, bloody comedy film, then look no further.
Label: Third Window Films
Release date: 14th May 2012
Running time: 110 mins
Genre: Black comedy
Director: Keralino Sandorovich
Review by Dean Hilliam