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Year: 1999
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Masato Hagiwara, Miki Nakatani, Ken Mitsuishi, Jun Kunimura
Director: Hideo Nakata
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
UK: 104 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and psychological menace
UK Release Date: 22 October 2004


After the successes of RING and RING 2, famed horror director Hideo Nakata returns to the screen with a psychological thriller that integrates the styles of Japanese suspense, neo-noir and the erotic thriller into a mesmerizing, brilliant cocktail.

A corporate wife stages her own kidnapping in order to dispel doubts about her husband's fidelity. To ensure the kidnapping's plausibility, she forces the hired henchman to tie her up. When the kidnapping evolves into a perverse, erotic role-playing game between the consensual abductor and abductee, the two discover a mutual interest in masochism and bondage. However, hints begin to surface indicating that things are not that simple and nobody is quite who they seem. Has the extorted husband been unfaithful? Is the wife who she claims to be? Is the henchman a pawn, manipulated by all to cover up the husband's even more heinous crime? The emergence of each puzzle piece answers old questions, and at the same time poses new ones.

As the film progresses, Nakata uncovers the complex 'in media res' timeline collage, exposing the truth behind this tangled web of murder, manipulation, secrets and lies. With the police and the audience hot on their trail, the henchman and husband battle to outwit each other and win the lady's favor--even as she plots her own psychotic, destructive path through their lives.

Nakata's use of light and reflection frames the film in a visual Neo-Noir style mindful of the genre's formal conventions. The film's femme fatale heroine, played superbly by Miki Nakatani, calls to mind such brilliant noir performances as Kathleen Turner's Matty Walker in BODY HEAT and Rita Hayworth's Rosalie Bannister in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. Nakata takes an academic understanding of the genre and adds a fresh twist, complimenting the formula with his own style rooted in Japanese horror, suspense and erotic cinema (a subtle homage to Masaru Konuma).

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