Watching as many movies as I do these days, it becomes rather difficult to get excited too often. There are the occasional rumblings, however. The one-off posts on social media, the positive chatter. Sometimes it’s for blockbuster nationwide releases and sometimes those rumblings are for underground releases, perhaps on their way to some kind of cult status. I feel like that very well could happen with Takashi Hirose’s Brutal.
Man murders women. Woman murders men. What happens when man and woman meet each other?
That doesn’t sound like much of a plot, now, does it? Rest assured, Brutal has a lot more going for it than my crummy synopsis.
Broken into three equal length chapters, Brutal runs a breezy 1 hour and six minutes. It is quite unrelenting right from the start, opening with scenes of ‘Man’ viciously assaulting some of his latest victims. It doesn’t ever really let up on the good old ultra-violence either, as there are many more scenes of brutality sprinkled throughout.
I couldn’t help but get flashbacks to films like Nathan Hynes and Chris Power’s 2007 mockumentary, Long Pigs, or the fantastic Michael Rooker-starrer, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Even still, Brutal is another beast entirely.
There is substance here and while it may take certain cues from the aforementioned titles, there is a different message being shared. Exploratory of the psyche of what makes a serial killer, Takashi Hirose has made quite a compelling piece here. It is shorter than most feature films we’ve become accustomed to, but it does not fail in assaulting the viewers’ senses in that short time that it is allotted.
The cinematography is executed quite impressively and while the added effect of pops and crackles, not unlike what we might see in 70s and 80s horror films originally shot on 35mm, isn’t quite necessary, it does add a nice aesthetic. The filter helps create the mood that we are almost certainly already feeling as the heinous acts are performed before us.
Brutal turned out quite different from what I anticipated, but I am actually very happy about that. It is barbaric, but it is also fleshed out much more than most films that are similar in nature from independent filmmakers. Bravo to Takashi Hirose for making a great film, one that is oh so brutal, but also beautiful.
Brutal is available now on Blu-ray from Unearthed Films; Be sure to grab yourself a copy to help support this brilliant director and any future projects he may give us. You don’t want to miss out on this one… trust me!
I give this one 4 pickup line freestyles out of 5.