a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Why Don’t You Play in Hell / Jigoku de Naze Warui / 地獄でなぜ悪い

with 3 comments

250px-Why_Don't_You_Play_in_Hell?-p1Sono Shion seems to be getting back on track a bit, particularly after the nadir of his experiment in audience abuse with the final to parts of his “Hate Trilogy” and the misfire of Himizu. With Why Don’t You Play in Hell, he’s still nihilistic and misanthropic – and everybody dies at the end in an incredible bloodbath. What else do you expect in a Sono Shion film? But he seems to at least found a bit of his old wicked sense of humor and eschewed the cheap sick jokes that have made his recent films so awful. His new film at least takes its potshots at himself and the film profession. Why Don’t You Play in Hell follows a group of young misguided GAGAGA-esque film club innocents who get caught up in mediating a yakuza leader’s movie-making fantasy that goes horribly wrong. Along the way there are nods to Kubrick, Bresson, John Woo and more, and a host of set pieces that are funny, horrific and stunning – often all at the same time.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2013.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

October 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm

3 Responses

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  1. ………..and giving away the ending kills any possible chance of watching this. Maybe it’s predictable from the makers’ style but out and out spoilers are unforgivable in a review IMO.

    Why why why?


    September 13, 2014 at 8:40 am

    • Laurie,

      Why not?

      Could you show me the rules of writing reviews and criticism that says you cant’ talk about or reveal the endings of movies? I think people, not just film writers, are allowed to talk about what they’ve seen and how they feel about it. How can we have serious discussions about the things of this world if some information has to be kept under wraps? And if it did give away the ending – truth is, there’s a coda to the film where things change, which I didn’t reveal – why would it “kill any possible chance of watching this?” Please see the movie. There’s a bunch of fun stuff that I didn’t reveal in my very short blurb.

      Here are a couple spoilers for you.

      Rosebud is the name of Charles Foster Kane’s sled.
      Norman Bates is a pretty crazy guy who acts like and sometimes dresses up like his dead mother.

      Knowing how Citizen Kane and Psycho end certainly doesn’t diminish the power of either of these films. I return to them again and again knowing full well what will happen. The pleasures of these films is how they get to their respective ends. It’s the journey – to revive an old cliche.

      And I recommend seeing Sono-san’s new film, Tokyo Tribe. In this one not everyone gets… Whoops! There I go again! Just about gave the ending away.

      Nicholas Vroman

      September 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      • Yep, there is no rule and the review is all yours to do as you will of course. Most importantly it is my decision to have come to the site. I do all of this.

        I agree that you can watch a movie multiple times and thoroughly enjoy it even though you know the ending, done it myself more than once and will certainly be doing that in the future.

        But (there’s always a “but” LOL) when you see a movie the first time there is a unique and unrepeatable pleasure in being led down a path to parts unknown. That is the experience that is simply gone if you know where the path is destined to deliver the traveller. All the side trails and the “what in the heck is going to happen after THAT happened!” musings are denied you as you know the way goes that way and that way only. Sure the scenery is still wonderful but it’s restricted to what is in front of you.

        That’s my take on why “spoilers” should not be entered without a clear flag. By all means discuss the ending, just let your reader make the choise as to whather they want to “see” the full plot or not. I remember recently watching The Mad Detective and purposely going to look at other peoples takes on the ending as it had me somewhat puzzled.

        In ending, thanks very much for a reasoned and detailed reply and, as always, for going and doing the review in the first place.


        September 21, 2014 at 9:27 am

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