Prolific director Takashi Miike is mostly known for his violent, weird, even crazy movies (Dead or Alive, Gozu, Ichi The Killer), but he can also make films that are more “ordinary” and enjoyable (Salaryman Kintaro, Shangri-La). Sun Scarred belongs to the latter group: it is violent, but not over-the-top. It offers an excellent balance between the kind of sheer violence that will entertain action fans, and psycho-social themes that will stimulate inquisitive minds. First, it questions the value of a justice that will often offer more protection to the offender than to the victims (a dilemma occurring more often with increasingly violent juvenile crimes). The film then moves on to tell the simple story of an outraged and hurt father who seeks justice and, ultimately, vengeance. It is quite similar to a 2003 movie by Kenichi Fujiwara titled [is A.] (cf. PA #82: 49).
Katayama is a bland but hardworking salaryman. One night, on his way back from work, he sees a bunch of delinquents severely beating an old homeless man and decides to intervene. When Kamiki, the leader of the delinquents, pulls a knife on him, Katayama beats him excessively. The salaryman’s life then turns into the worse paranoid nightmare: the delinquents are set free and he is accused of assault. Kamiki even threatens his family! A couple of years after the tragedy that broke his family, Katayama learns that Kamiki has been released on parole. He starts looking for him, first in search of understanding and closure, but he eventually finds himself on the path of vengeance.
Taiyo no Kizu (Scars Of The Sun) / Sun Scarred. Japan, 2006, 120 min.; Dir.: Takashi Miike; Scr.: Toshimichi Ohkawa; Art Dir.: Akira Sakamoto; Phot.: Masato Kaneko; Ed.: Yasushi Natsuyama; SFX: Kaori Ohtagaki; Mus.: Kôji Endô; Prod.: Yasuko Natsuyama, Kôzô Tadokoro; Distr.: Cinema Paradise; Cast: Sho Aikawa (Katayama), Aiko Satô, Kenichi Endo, Sei Hiraizumi, Hiroshi Katsuno. Screened on 2007/07/21 as International Premiere at Fantasia 2007. Available on R2 Dvd in Japan (DSZS-7043, 120 min., ī5200, released on 2007/01/21). Rated 15+.
Reviewed by Claude J. Pelletier