Running Time: 142 Minutes
Director: Lee Sang-il
Cast: Ken Watanabe, Mirai Moriyama, Kenichi Matsuyama, Gō Ayano, Suzu Hirose, Pierre Taki, Mitsuki Takahata, Chizuru Ikewaki, Aoi Miyazaki & Satoshi Tsumabuki
Japan is on the hunt for a man wanted for a brutal double murder. Three unrelated stories set in three Japanese cities, each with a mysterious character who looks exactly like the murderer…
As warned by the director himself, San-il Lee, watching Rage requires a lot of concentration. Baffling at the beginning, the film takes its time to tell three seemingly unrelated stories set in contemporary Japan, all heavily underlined by sexual violence.
Yuma, a young attractive gay man decides to take into his home a guy he had sex with at a party, Aiko, rescued from a brothel by her father and now back living with him, falls for his enigmatic employee and finally – Izumi, a young girl who meets a secretive hippie-looking guy squatting on an uninhabited island close to where she lives.
The narrative manages to hold the dispersed characters together and keep them interesting for the almost two and a half hours of this film. It does not, however, overcome the occasional self-importance glitch in the script with several packed towards the end.
Adding to this a few sillier or disconcerting elements such as a television programme reporting the murderer has undergone a plastic surgery and sharing images of him as a drag queen or the fact that Yuma’s relationship with the troubled Naoto stars with Yuma raping him, Rage is far from being edge-of-your-seat thriller drama.
This beautifully acted thriller also falls short when it comes to dialogues which unnecessarily hit grand notes, then emphasized by too dramatic – and sometimes totally out of place – music.
Mysterious to the point of being easily detachable to start with, Rage grows into a complex and interesting tale of the need for human connection. But whilst it tries to pose important questions about trust and human character, we cannot help but wonder whether it could have – or should have – been done differently to pack a bigger punch.