- Shizuo Enokizu (Rentaro Mikuni) to Kazuko Enokizu (Mitsuko Baisho)
Uncut - 10/01/2005
"The film is as beautiful as it is cold-hearted....The action is spring-loaded with malevolence."
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2005
"The director allows the subtlest of gestures to reveal his character's personalities and feelings. He is helped by remarkable actors..."
Based on police records and a prize-winning book by Ryuzo Saki, VENGEANCE IS MINE chronicles the terrifying crime spree of Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata), a hollow man with no kokoro, which means either "self" or "heart" in Japanese. A dissatisfied public relations employee, Enokizu kills several people for no good reason and manages to evade the police, even though his face is plastered like a celebrity's image across the country. But the film is also about his father and his wife, who have a secret of their own and try to live with the knowledge of the terrible deeds Enokizu has committed.
Director Shohei Imamura created the film after making several documentaries in the early 1970s and becoming dissatisfied with the narrative constraints of the form. Seemingly a straightforward crime drama, VENGEANCE IS MINE incorporates several surrealistic touches, including an ending in which the laws of gravity are suspended. Ogata's performance as Enokizu transformed him into a star in Japan. Mitsuko Baisho's turn as Enokizu's taboo-breaking, long-suffering wife recalls the protean female characters common in Imamura's previous films, including THE INSECT WOMAN.
Based on a true story, VENGEANCE IS MINE tells the chilling tale of an unremorseful murderer on path of destruction across Japan. Director Shohei Imamura's film is a detailed look at the criminal's shocking life, revealed in flashbacks.
VENGEANCE IS MINE features one of Ken Ogata's first film roles.
"The script was brought to me because I had been making documentaries and they thought this would make an interesting one. But I was no longer interested in documentaries. Still, I read the story, and as I read I rewrote. A result was that I started to interest myself in it. And once I had decided to film it, then it became very interesting to me."--Imamura, quoted in Cinematheque Ontario's book SHOHEI IMAMURA.