After a painful seperation and a failed suicide attempt, a down-and-out Tsube decides to travel across Japan in hope of finding a solution to his problems. His journey will take him places that he never could imagine as he wanders the seaside in a hallucinogenic fever-dream like state.
There's no disclaiming that Teruo Ishii was one of Japan's more prolific directors: Successfully creating international hit films as well as directing popular titles in the Pinku Eiga and Trangressive movements. At the tail end of his career he seemed focus on specifically directing movies that he was interested in creating which often left him going the independent route. His third to last movie, "Screwed", had him team up with manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge; believed to be a great combination as both men became known for their surreal artistic directions as opposed to more commercially popular styles.
"Screwed" features popular Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano ("Ichi the Killer") as Tsube, a down and out comic artist who is slumming it, waiting for his career to take off. A bitter separation between him and his girlfriend after finding out she slept with another man and might be pregnant, leaves Tsube in despair and contemplating suicide. After failing at his suicide attempt, Tsube takes to wandering around Japan bouncing from one town to the next focusing only on making it to the beach. While attempting to do some soul searching, no matter where he ends up, he is reminded of what caused him to leave in the first place. Surrounded by sexual decadence and bizarre characters, Tsube spirals out of control into a surreal nightmare.
Sadly, the premise and the idea for "Screwed" is far more exciting and interesting than the actual movie itself. Ultimately a pointless movie; we are left to sit and watch as the Tsube character finds himself in one bizarre situation after another, usually involving an extremely awkward sex scenario. It looks to mix surrealism and abstract dark humor in what is nothing more than a lacking character study. Tsube is hardly a worthwhile character to follow around and his unusual life journey is less interesting than he is. As the movie progresses Tsube becomes more separated from reality up until the head-scratching conclusion that ends on a completely ambiguous and bizarre note.
Like most of the movies Teruo Ishii made towards the end of his career, and sadly his life, "Screwed" is shot on video and is of the low-budget variety. It does lack that more polished look of his previous films but hardly anything worth condemning over if it wasn't for the fact that picture quality was quite muddy. Something I could have easily gotten over since I was never bitten by the "HD" bug, but the movie contains a red tint through out - combine that with an already muddy picture, the movie becomes hard to see. Instead of lacking that visual punch that "Hell" (aka "Jigoku") and "Blind Beast vs. Killer Dwarf" had, outside a few select scenes. In particular the opening segment and the ending.
"Screwed" is far from a bad movie, probably one of the more unusual movies you'll see about a character going on a journey towards a self-revelation. As I said though, it is a dull movie -- The characters are far from interesting and there isn't anything beyond the red tint and overtly sexual nature of the movie. Definitely not a title anyone can go into and walk away with an appreciation for and the enjoyment level is very slim. On the plus side this wasn't Teruo Ishii's last movie and he ended on a slightly better note before heading to that studio in the sky.