Retribution (2006)
By: Paul Ryan on August 6, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1, Japanese DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 99 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring: Koji Yashuko, Manami Konish
Screenplay: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Country: Japan
AKA: Sakebi
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Tokyo homicide detective Yoshioka (Koji Yashuko) wakes from a disturbing dream which has drowned a woman wearing a red dress (Riona Hazuki). Called out to a crime scene he is confronted with what appears to be the very same dead woman. Evidence begins to emerge that links him to the crime, but it also seems that he cannot have possibly been anywhere near the woman, let alone the crime scene. As the investigation progresses, the increasingly troubled Yoshioka begins to doubt his own sanity. Soon similar murders are uncovered, but these have been committed – and confessed - by different people. Yet the dead woman in the red dress appears to link all the crimes. And why is Yoshioka's girlfriend Harue (Manami Konishi) so calm about everything?

Impressively directed by Pulse helmer Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Retribution is tense, intriguing and well-made. Kurosawa's visuals take the spectator in expected directions, using long takes very effectively. The director makes great use of the Tokyo bay settings, with all of their half-constructed buildings, condemned structures and muddy pits.

Beginning more as a mystery-thriller, the film eventually veers into more familiar J-Horror territory, which brings with it some overworked clichés of the genre. What this also means is that a climactic twist just isn't as surprising as it should be, though the ending is pleasingly ambiguous.

This letdown aside, Retribution is still a very well crafted film, suspenseful, visually imaginative and well acted.
Video
Little to complain about here. Aside from some occasional dirt and specks, the anamorphic 1.78:1 tramsfer is fine, with especially good shadow detail.
Audio
Two excellent Dolby tracks in 5.1 and 2.0 are supplied here.
Extra Features
Interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa: Initially coming off as a bland EPK-style question an answer session, this fifteen-minute featurette quickly becomes more interesting, as director Kurosawa discusses the genesis of the film, his shooting style and the locations used. The comparison of the locations one year on from shooting is especially worthwhile.

Alternate Ending: This is an interesting inclusion, timecoded, presented in raw 4x3 and alternating between matted and full frame footage. This ending wraps things up a tad more conclusively than the version which was used, but isn't vital either. Sharp-eyed viewers will notice a couple of shots here turn up in the theatrical ending, though that changes their context slightly as a result.

Trailer: Despite being listed as a Theatrical Trailer, this is more likely a TV spot. Alongside some dubious translation, this has the added amusement of a "special cinema ticket" promo at the end. For 1500 yen, you can be the proud owner of a ticket and bonus temporary tattoo. Bargain!

Still Gallery: Another useless still gallery, with seventeen frames of shots from the film. Blah.

Eastern Eye Trailers: Trailers for other J-Horror titles from Eastern Eye: Reincarnation, Infection, Premonition and Kurosawa's own Pulse.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Retribution serves up some good scares, stylish direction and fine performances. This said, it can't shake an overly familiar vibe and a Big Twist that is isn't terribly hard to guess. Nonetheless, J-Horror fans will eat it up. Madman's disc is - like the film – serviceable without being outstanding.

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