Leave it to Takashi Miike to ruin dairy products forever. My best recommendation is that you finish up your beer in the first 20 minutes before the complimentary chicken pudding shows up.
THE BEER: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Lots of people on Ratebeer.com etc. have said that this is a “pink” or “rosy” colored ale, but in keeping with the Japanese motif, I think it’s more plum-colored. It’s got an herbaceous nose that reminds me a lot of a Belgian, but once it hits the tongue, it’s more Sake-flavored. It’s got a full mouthfeel and an almost minty palate. In spite of that refreshing quality, it’s kind of weird.
But then, that makes it a perfect match for this film.
Directed by Takashi Miike
So the premise here is that the main character, Minami (played by Hideki Sone), is charged with taking his Yakuza brother/mentor Ozaki out to a small town to off him for going off the deep end. Example: in the first 10 minutes Ozaki sees a tiny Pomeranian outside and then announced to his boss that it was a “Yakuza attack dog” and then smashed it repeatedly on the ground and against the restaurant window. So.
Minami doesn’t really want to kill Ozaki, since at one point in the past Ozaki had saved his life. Fortunately, though, he apparently dies by accident on the way to Nagoya. Minumi heads into a cafe to call his boss and let him know that the job is done (as the boss talks to him whilst banging his girlfriend with a ladle handle shoved up his butt). Sitting near the window to keep his eye on the car, Minami sits down to have a drink. A bald, transvestite server gives him a cup of “complimentary” chicken pudding, which makes him need to run to the bathroom and vomit.
When he comes out, Ozaki’s body is missing.
Probably on purpose, after the first half-hourish of straightforward Yakuza movie, this film pretty much goes off into weird-ass dream territory. But it’s kind of like one of those dreams that people tell you about that you really REALLY don’t wanna hear.
“So like, I met this guy in a field that was like, half albino, but it really just looked like someone had painted half his face white? Wait, but before that I went to this coffee shop and this guy was on the phone and just kept talking about the weather…anyway! Anyway! So then I went to this hotel with the guy with the half face. But, oh, first we had to find this group called the “Shiroyama crew” in a big junkyard but we couldn’t. And the lady at the hotel gave me two dinners and three glasses of milk…”
And you’re like…OH MY GOD SHUT UP.
Eventually there is enough bizarre stuff to keep you interested and asking questions.
The strange imagery is most easily summed up with the Gozu scene itself. Gozu translates to “cow head”, and the scene takes place while Minami is walking the labyrinthine halls of his hotel searching for Ozaki. He turns a corner and comes face to face with a man in tighty-whiteys and an enormous, drooling cow’s head. The cow slowly approaches, thick white drool dripping from his mouth onto the floor, and eventually licks Minami’s face.
So…there’s a lot of that kind of thing. There are some pretty neato Yakuza skin-suits hung up on hangers with their big tattoos. There’s an elderly woman whose side hustle involves squeezing milk out of her breasts into an endless supply of bottles and selling them to the children of the town (also…lots of moaning as she does this. Hooray! We got to test to make sure my gag reflex still works.)
And possibly the most bizarre final scene ever.
If you’re asking what kind of horror this is? David Croenenberg / Lynch style surrealist body horror. So if you’re into that, go for it. But I recommend you don’t eat ice cream while you watch.