LESSON OF THE EVIL is a relentless, remorseless look at pure evil. It
is so brutally violent, it numbs you into submission and you are unsure
how you should react to it. There is little joy in watching the film
(though there is dark, black humour throughout) but it stands as a
unique testament to infant terrible director Takashi Miike's crazy view
of the world.
The film's first half is almost as restrained as the second is
violently eruptive. The setting is an elite private school in Japan
where teachers and administrators discuss the prevalent problem of
students cheating during exams, mostly using their cell phones.
Numerous solutions are proposed but the most radical comes from Seiji
Hasumi, the charming, popular English teacher, who suggests body
searches and signal jammers, but who's notions are rejected as being
counterproductive to keeping the schools environment healthy.
Undeterred, Hasumi continues keeping tabs on students and learns of
widespread bullying, harassment and illicit teacher student
relationships. You think he's going to turn into some kind of saviour,
and the films tone seems to be heading this way, but then, and there is
no fine way to describe it, Hasumi goes psycho. He explodes into a
violent killing machine during a nightly school function, exacting
brutal death, wielding a shotgun, pumping bullets into anything that
moves and talking to his demons to leave little doubt he is a complete
Knowing a bit about Takashi Miike and the reputation that precedes him,
this midway shift should not be surprising (or even considered a
spoiler). His films are almost exclusively violent, of that there is no
doubt, but they revel in tasteless torture porn that is not for the
squeamish. LESSON is no different and if anything, the overlong period
of exposition, detailing the tribulation of a small group of students
at the school, seems overcooked in contrast to the rushed, extended
finale, which is really where Miike displays his skills as filmmaker.
Hasumi is molded in the fashion of television's DEXTERa likable serial
killer with a wide grin and charismatic looks to match who is also
extremely lucky in giving anyone investigating the deaths, a slip. But
while the last hour is a lot of fun (at one point Hasumi off's
countless students wearing a rain jacket and swaying to the jazzy tune
of MACK THE KNIFE) it is indescribable, nearly unwatchable and after
sometime, repetitious to the point of being unbearable. And, just when
you think there might be some end in sight, Miike turns a moment of
hope into a Michael Haneke moment of viewer patience testing ala FUNNY
GAMES. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you know you're in for a
Funny? Comedy? Satire? Please... Whe live in such a morally degraded
time that a psychopath cold bloodedly slaughtering his studends is
regarded as ''funny''. To all people that aren t morally crippled I
want to say that this is not a funny film-not in the slightest. Miike
shows us a portrait of a psychopath and does so in his his best
master-filmmaker tradition. Intense , shocking ,gripping , and exiting.
A serial killer , the charismatic teacher hunts down his students in a
locked down school. You can almost barely sit in your seat rooting for
the students to survive-but Miike is unpredictable as always
Acting - excellent , SUPERB cinematography (!) , intense sound and
unforseeable plot. ''To be continued?''-can t wait for the sequel!
A very cool film, its also hilarious, but definitely not for everyone.
It might just be Takashi Miike's most mainstream film of his that I've
seen, but still pretty crazy as always.
Its basically a thriller comedy about a likable teacher who goes on
killing students and parents making it look like a suicide.
Before you watch it, you have to know what you're in for, its one of
those films that doesn't take itself seriously, its satiric for most
of the time and it knows just when to be funny. The story is pretty
ridiculous, but it manages to be unexpected and thrilling, its also
gory and pretty funny, it had the whole audience laughing.
On the other hand, it was kind of messy like every other Takashi film,
but these messy sequences and flashbacks are relieved by other scenes
with interesting music choices that fit perfectly into whats going on,
even adding a little humor to it, and some dance moments and funny
dialogue by the students at the wrong moment. It felt similar to the
first "Scream" and reminded me in some ways to the ridiculousness in
Robert Rodriguez films.
I'd recommend it to people who liked "Django Unchained", "Battle
Royale", "Machete", "Videodrome", "A Clockwork Orange", or any Takashi