LEY LINES (1999): PART 3 OF TAKASHI MIIKE'S BLACK SOCIETY TRILOGY OR BLACK TRIAD TRILOGY. DIRECTED BY TAKASHI MIIKE.
STARRING SHOW AIKAWA, SAMUEL POP ANING, TAKESHI CAESAR, YUKIE ITOU, MICHISUKE KASHAWAYI, KAZUKI KITAMURA AND DAN LI.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
The 'BLACK SOCIETY TRILOGY' has got to be controversial Japanese movie director Takashi Miike at his absolute finest. It consists of three separate stand-alone films, but they're all connected in terms of place and theme and the kind of seedy, ultra-violent characters you might find in them. The films are SHINJUKU TRIAD SOCIETY (1995); RAINY DOG (1997); and LEY LINES (1998).
LEY LINES tells the story of three Japanese young fellas of Chinese descent who run away to Shinjuku, Tokyo (remember that the first film in the trilogy is called SHINJUKU TRIAD SOCIETY?) in the hope of making their fortune, or whatever it is that young 'uns hope to achieve when they do that. They're a likeable enough bunch of lads, even though at least two of them were almost certainly never going to set the world on fire, academically or otherwise.
Ryuichi is the heart-throb of the bunch. He looks like an Asian Cristiano Ronaldo, the highly-paid and devastatingly good-looking footballer on whom I've had the biggest crush for, like, forever, haha. Well, Ryuichi looks a lot like him and he's the moody, surly, strong silent type as well, so I can imagine that women will go crazy for him. He's exactly the type that women think they can change, a real bad boy with a bad attitude. As if changing a guy were ever actually possible. Seriously, don't get me started on my pet subject...!
Shun is Ryuichi's younger brother, a studious, quiet lad who's possibly tagging along because he wants to live life in the fast lane for a bit the way his older, more troublesome brother seems to do. Maybe he's tired of being teased by Ryuichi for always being a swot and a goody-two-shoes. Those kind of jibes can hurt sometimes. Maybe Shun's just fed-up with it all. Whatever his reason for joining the road-trip, he's here now and the things he experiences are wild beyond his maddest dreams.
Chang is the third lad. He's what we here in Ireland would refer to as a 'head-the-ball,' a bit of a loose cannon or a wild card, but not in an evil way. He's just a bit mentally unhinged, haha. Anyway, the three of them decide to cut loose from their everyday lives and leave their parents' homes to go and live in the city and- ahem- sell drugs. Yeah, great start, guys. Way to make it big...!
They almost immediately run afoul of a violent gang boss, mainly because they're naïve little greenhorns who haven't the common sense to keep their heads down when in the presence of gangsters, but the most interesting thing that happens to the hapless trio is their association with the Chinese prostitute Anita.
They meet her at a noodle place, where she works upstairs servicing clients while people eat their hot grub downstairs. She robs them on the auspicious occasion of their first meeting, and it just sort of goes from there, haha.
Anita is probably my favourite character, after the hot sexy Ronaldo-lookalike, obviously...! She's a beautiful young woman of twenty-eight but man, she has a shit life. She allows men to use her for sex because maybe that's all she knows, but her job is soul-destroying and she's battle-hardened and world-weary to the max. You can hardly blame her, what with the stuff she has to put up with from men every day. Her life basically sucks, man.
There's a crazy connection between Anita and the three lads, though, and when Tokyo becomes too hot to hold the miscreants, for a little while the four of them actually believe that they can escape to a new life overseas. But, life being what it is, there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip, as they say. Somehow, I wouldn't count on 'em starting a carefree new life in sunnier climes anytime soon...
As this is a Takashi Miike film, you'll find him enthusiastically exploring one of his favourite themes of the problems of assimilation faced by non-ethnically Japanese people in Japan. You can also expect lots of the usual sex and violence, which is probably what ye were really hoping for, heh-heh-heh, ye horny perverts, ye...!
A couple of things you should look out for, therefore, include a rather interesting but decidedly X-rated way to rouse an unconscious guy out of his stupor and, if you've ever wondered what exactly women have to go through at the gynaecologist's office, wonder no more. It's all here, folks. It's all here, but not in a good way...
The good news is that all three films in this magnificent trilogy by one of Japan's most acclaimed film-makers have been out on DVD and Blu-Ray since January 16th, 2017, courtesy of ARROW FILMS. They all come complete with extra features, the delicious details of which I'm including for you now to drool and slaver over, haha. Here they come:
High Definition digital transfers of all three films
Original uncompressed stereo audio
Optional English subtitles for all three films
New interview with director Takashi Miike
New interview with actor Show Aikawa (Rainy Dog, Ley Lines)
New audio commentaries for all three films by Miike biographer Tom Mes
Original theatrical trailers for all three films
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films.
The film's ending is beautiful, stunningly artistic and unbearably sad. I cried for ages after it finished. LEY LINES has been referred to as 'the most technically accomplished of the Black Society Trilogy.' Whether it is or it isn't- I personally think that all three films in the trilogy are flawless in every conceivable way- it's a marvellously powerful piece of film-making that you should on no account miss. Over and out, my darling film buddies. xxx
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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