| March 9, 2015

If you’re a fan of depraved Japanese cult cinema, like early Takashi Miike or Noburo Iguchi films, you simply owe it to yourself to see Hitoshi Matsumoto’s R100, which is the most, bats#!t, gonzo, absurdist film I’ve ever seen and that’s a great thing. Nao Omori plays Takafumi Katayama, a lonely salaryman whose wife has been in a coma for years. As a secret fan of BDSM, he finds out about a mysterious club called Bondage, where he goes to see what pleasures await him. He’s then drawn into a contract, where a variety of dominatrices shall randomly approach him in public and both torture and humiliate him, for an entire year. While he enjoys the first few encounters, they begin to encroach on his private life and start to interact with both his young son and even his wife in the hospital. As he tries to destroy the contract, Katayama manages to enter the radar of the CEO of Bondage, who’s sole job is to fulfill the company’s promise and deliver the maximum amount of pain and pleasure.

I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a film like R100 and I’ve seen things like Ichi the Killer and Tetsuo: The Iron Man. What makes Matsumoto’s film an absolute delight is how hysterically funny it is, regardless of its insane premise, subject matter and approach to story. A film within a film, awkward rings of ecstasy that emanate from one’s head and a person who gobbles people are but a few of the insane elements that make up R100 and even knowing that still won’t prepare one for the experience. R100 also manages to be extremely effective, due to all of the prime elements of film converging to deliver the comedy. Whether its one laughing at the editing, the ridiculous costumes or the fantastic performances by the entire cast, R100 is confident in what its selling, as well as giving audiences the exact thing its about, pain and pleasure.

The Blu-Ray from Cinedigm and Drafthouse Films, presents R100 with some wonderful A/V, but is sorely lacking in special features. The video on the disc is presented in an AVC encoded, 1080p transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The film is very much a visual experience and the video on the disc delivers in spades. There’s a soothing amount of grain, from scenes that were captured in 16mm and other parts that were shot in HD, both of which look fantastic. A few of the portions shot on film, look a bit washed out, offering a hazy, dreamlike effect for certain scenes. Even though the film was shot on different formats, R100 and while its certainly noticeable, it still very much helps sell the film aesthetically. The audio on the disc is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track in the original Japanese language. The longer the film runs, the crazier it gets and the audio track manages to widen the scope of that. There’s some great use of panning and effects sprinkled throughout the film, but in the final act, where all this ridiculous action takes place, is where the mix fully embraces itself. Full of great uses of both surround channels and LFE action, the final 30 minutes of the film manage to sell what a great mix should sound like. There’s no features on the disc itself, just trailers for other Drafthouse Films. The actual release contains a small booklet, with an interview with Lindsay Kay Howard, the CEO of Bondage, as well as an awesome reversible cover for the case. There’s also a redeemable code for a HD download for the film. It would have been nice to get a commentary or an interview with Hitoshi Matsumoto, but alas none of this is found on the disc.

R100 certainly isn’t for everyone and people that don’t already like Japanese cult cinema should avoid it at all costs. Regardless of the fact that it has no special features, if you’re willing to submit to the torture and ecstasy that Hitoshi Matsumoto has created in R100, you’ll find yourself rewarded to one of the funniest comedies that Japan has ever created and one of the best cult films I’ve had the pleasure to come across. Highly Recommended! 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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