Mar 20, 2009

Late Bloomer

So many clustered feelings on this film, all of which are incredibly favorable. Late Bloomer is probably the most responsive film I've seen in quite some time. Taking cues from masterful pieces of disturbing fiction and presenting it in such a fashionable manner requires tedious work. Even better, Late Bloomer may have been a film exercise that came naturally. I don't believe we'll ever discover the genius within that wrapped this project up in a tight little package. Taking a controversial step in hiring an actor with cerebral palsy to play Sumida - a blood-fueled vengeful handicapped persons, Late Bloomer takes a step towards visualizing a steam punk movement with the beeline track the camera gestures towards. A smoky venue for his friend Take's punk band gives dismal light to nightmarish fantasies of revenge and retribution, all homicidal in nature.

Presented in unnerving gray-scale, Late Bloomer features a comfortable life for Sumida. Clinging to visions of partying, beer, and women, Sumida hires a young college girl to be his caregiver. After her affection is blessed to Take, Sumida slowly erupts in a fit of jealously that will be one for the books. Though not barbaric in nature, his curiosity with life and death leans towards extremes on both ends. Unsatisfied with life, he decides to take and satisfied with taking, he himself seems without life. The result is a tableaux of nerve-shredding avant-garde cinema. Late Bloomer encompasses ideas that I, myself, are uncomfortable visualizing. When I see someone with down-syndrome, thoughts come flooding into play. "Do they understand vengeful nature?" That amongst others rush forward but I doubt I'll ever get an answer lest I fall victim to one myself.

World's End Girlfriend composes the soundtrack to Late Bloomer and might I say, I've never heard such a deeply affecting and perfectly juxtaposed soundtrack giving life to calamitous intent and whatever-form of innocence this depicts. Watching Sumida's disfigured body twist and contort with frightening detail, all while wielding a knife, comes off as repulsively shocking and grotesque. Late Bloomer has been called a hybrid of the serial killer genre and this assertion is highly accurate. At first, his motives come off as vengeful but soon his victims are randomized. He kills without decision, without empathy. Soon, his already-crippling handicap results in him appearing brain dead. By way of superior editing tricks, Go Shibata will immerse you in a world I fear you may never return from.

Late Bloomer is the birth of a naturalist noise-horror, something more akin to everyday social activities but infused with passive soundscapes. Late Bloomer definitely fits the motives of noise music and goes well with brainstorming over the likes of Kites and Caen. This is one film that doesn't spout grandeur of a "Could-be serial killer living next door" and Late Bloomer certainly doesn't give color to the scenario. What we get is starkly real and one of the greatest foreign films I've seen in some time. Occasionally, I found a slight flaw in the process of Late Bloomer but a mistake during birth can be applied to most things. Late Bloomer is a tour de force on terms of revolutionary Japanese psycho-cinema. From the scene in which Aya asks Sumida if he wishes he was born normal and his disturbing speak'n'spell device replying "I - will - kill - you," we accept our fate to be entwined in the absolute experience that is Late Bloomer. Seizure-driven and casually over-the-top, Late Bloomer will leave you marked as there is no way to escape both the wrath of Sumida or Late Bloomer. As an experience, Late Bloomer is raw and scathing; along the lines of something I'll never count on seeing again.


1 comment:

Fox said...

World's End Girlfriend composes the soundtrack to Late Bloomer and might I say, I've never heard such a deeply affecting and perfectly juxtaposed soundtrack giving life to calamitous intent and whatever-form of innocence this depicts.

I agree whole-heartedly. The last scene of the camera tracking up and away from Sumida's apartment with the music over top stunned me.

Late Bloomer was the first film I saw at Fantastic Fest last year. There were 5 people in the theater b/c everyone else was checking out the premier of that awful Kevin Smith movie. Needless to say, the 5 of us in the theater were shell shocked when Late Bloomer was over.

You know, I would like to ask the director if Late Bloomer has any reference what so ever (even miniscule) to the title of Ozu's Late Spring. Both end tragically (true, in much different ways) but bloom and spring and the fact that these are black & white meditative Japanese films makes me wonder.

This film gives me pause too. Like Ex-Drummer, I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it touched me like few films did in 2008. Cheers to you for writing about it when nobody seems to know that it exists.

Great review, mAQ.