a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Koi no Tsumi / Guilty of Romance / 恋の罪

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With Guilty of Romance, director Sono Shion continues his descent into creating well-crafted over-the-top exercises in meaninglessness, peppered with arbitrary violence. The third of his “Hate Trilogy,” which started off the genuinely funny and fun Love Exposure and was followed up with his fascistic Cold Fish, concludes in pure nihilism. Shion concocts a story about three women; Izumi (Megumi Kagurazaka) a bored wife to a respected novelist (Kanji Tsuda), Kazuko a sexy female cop (Miki Mizuno) and Mitusko (Makoto Togashi) professor by day/sexual adventurer by night. Izumi finds her inner slut under the guidance of sex-mad Mitsuko against the backdrop of a particularly grisly murder being investigated by Kazuko. Everything comes around in a rather baroque plot and subplots that hint at something deeper than what actually transpires. Guilty of Romance most directly channels Belle du Jour, but without Bunuel’s wicked sense of humor. Shion seems to have lost his rudder over the years, substituting bile for wit and creating less and less watchable and increasingly misanthropic entertainments, if that’s what you can call them.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2011.

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