The World of Kanako

The World of Kanako (TIFF 2014 Review)

Dir: Tetsuya Nakashima

The brutal Japanese thriller The World of Kanako seeks to shock and destroy with its stylish pastiche of American grindhouse trends. Cribbing liberally from film noir, 70’s exploitation, Robert Rodriguez’s anti-heroes of Sin City, and Tarantino’s talky scenes intercut with shocking violence, Kanako  is drenched in even more sin and far less redemption than its forebears. The result is a mixed cocktail of blood and style that is both inebriating and toxic.

After some dizzyingly edited pre-credits scenes set the tone of the film (nauseatingly violent and heavily noir inflected), a whiplash credits sequence – all 70’s cool and throttling guitar – sets an impossibly high bar that the film itself has a hard time following. In the centre of this exercise in excess is Kôji Yakusho as Akikazu, a disgraced former cop and current P.I. tasked with tracking down his estranged teenage daughter, Kanako. The plot is often a mere excuse to string along a series of beatings, intimidations, betrayals and revelations. The end result can be (more…)