Having not seen any of Tetsuya Nakashima’s (Director) work, or many Asian films before, I had no idea what to expect when it came time to view this film. I knew the film used the sounds of Radiohead and The XX so could try to predict the styling of this movie before seeing it, moody and quite dreamlike. And as I predicted the film definitely had the same melancholic atmosphere to it as Radioheads music does. Saying that this is the only thing I could predict for the film, it was very cleverly done with several shocking pivotal moments, after a while I stopped trying to guess what would happen next and just enjoy the twisted plot that followed.
What seemed to be the majority of the film was set in one location, a classroom, with cutaways aiding the events the teacher was explaining to her (what turn out to be very disturbed) class. The teacher set out for revenge on the two children in her class that murdered her daughter. The death of her daughter had already been settled as an accident, but the mother later discovered that it was no accident. Rather than reopen the case she planned out an ingenious, yet very disturbing, way to seek revenge on the the two children that murdered her daughter.
The film was beautifully shot throughout, the classroom reminiscent of a hospital ward with its cool colours and bare walls lacking classroom displays you would expect to find. Whether this is a typical representation of a Japanese school I do not know, but it definitely gives off a cold and clinical tone that alienates me from any classroom I would expect to find. I am not sure if it was intended by the director but because of this I do not see these children as innocent or even recognise them as children, they seem as alien to me as the classroom itself. This style is not contained within the classroom but the whole world outside seem to match, even the rose bush outside the teachers house seemed to be drained of colour and vibrancy. Overall creating a very depressive and ominous sensation within the viewer.
Although the film in its entirety is very powerful, there are several moments that remain with you after it is finished. A school child breaking down in a shop, covering everything in his blood. The mass of slaughtered children in the school hall and even those moments that are less controversial but still powerful like the mother breaking down in the street, crippled by her pain. Up until this point she had remained a cool, strong character. This allowed me to see her as more human and relatable, just about the only character in the movie that could be related to. These shots are highlighted moments that I will always refer to when thinking of this film, as a whole creating a very enjoyable and powerful film.