“This isn’t a mystery of life! It’s a shit!”
Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific & well-known directors working in Japanese cinema. Miike has given the world the wonderful Audition, the hyperviolent Ichi & the frankly piss poor Happiness Of The Katakuris. Visitor Q is Miike’s most extreme film to date, I would also venture to say it is his best. Visitor Q is an insane ride, imagine if Brett Easton Ellis & J. G. Ballard had co-written a draft of Mary Poppin’s script! Filled with jet black humour & some highly tasteless yet extremely funny set pieces, Visitor Q is about the redemption of one hugely dysfunctional family, brought back together by a stranger that comes to stay with them.
Visitor Q opens up with the question “Have you ever done it with your Dad” written across the screen. The film then shows Kiyoshi the Father of the family interviewing a young prostitute Fujiko who persuades him to have sex with her for 50,000 yen. After Kiyoshi ejaculates quickly, Fujiko charges him 100,000 yen as a punishment. Kiyoshi realises he has left the camera filming. Kiyoshi doesn’t have all the money, he says he will give the rest to Fujiko’s mother, Kiyoshi is Fujiko’s father! The Movie then asks the question “Have you ever been hit over the head?” as Kiyoshi is hit over the head with a rock by the visitor, not once but twice. It is after this that Kiyoshi brings the visitor home with him to stay for a while. The family is at breaking point. The son physically abuses his mother whose body is now covered in bruises & scars, she also walks with a limp. The mother herself is an habitual heroin user who turns tricks to pay for her habit. The son is bullied at school & the bullies attack the family home most nights. Kiyoshi the father is a failed TV reporter, who was raped on camera by a bunch of teenagers. He is now filming his own son being bullied to make a documentary on bullying. What follows is a heartwarming tale of family redemption including drug abuse, lactation, necrophilia & violence.
Visitor Q is one of those movies that just succeeds on every level. The acting is first-rate & the characters are beautifully written & developed. It’s a film that I’m sure will shock & deeply offend a lot of people. For anyone with a broad sense of humour this film is genius. I must admit to laughing so hard my stomach hurt during the necrophilia scene in the greenhouse & the subsequent bathroom scene. Two scenes that could come across as extremely tasteless but due to their sheer farcical nature become incredibly funny. With Visitor Q, Miike has made a uniquely Japanese movie, it could never be remade in the west as it just wouldn’t translate, it is inherently Japanese. One thing I find incredibly ironic with Japanese cinema that is highlighted by this movie is the Japanese censors. This film contains necrophilia, domestic violence, incest, drug abuse & lactation taken to the nth degree, all of which isn’t a problem for the censors but all images of pubic hair must be pixellated! Its things like this that Miike’s movie is undermining, it holds up a mirror to the current trend for reality TV & the public’s almost morbid fascination with it. Visitor Q is far more of a subversive movie than Fight Club (& I love Fight Club)
Visitor Q is a wonderfully insane mindfuck of a movie. Most people when Miike is discussed will mention either Audition or Ichi, both of which are great movies, but it’s Visitor Q that is Miike’s crowning glory. Hugely controversial, highly offensive & pant-wettingly funny, Visitor Q is a must see.