Bad Panda Reviews

Review: Lesson Of The Evil (2012)

Posted by Bad Panda on June 07, 2013 (0 Comments)

Return to the Dark Side!

After making a series of more light-hearted fare, like live-action versions of Yatterman, Ninja Kids, Zebraman 2 and Ace Attorney, Miike returns to his roots in this portrait of a serial killer. It also presents a complete role-reversal for the hero from the Umizaru movie series, Hideaki Ito.

The scene is set in a Japanese private high school in Tokyo, where Hasumin has recently been employed as a home room teacher (and specialising in English). Although outwardly handsome, intelligent, charming and respectable, and sharing a rapport with his students, he has a hidden side that he shares with no-one. From the early scenes, it is revealed that he is manipulative and conniving, and unafraid of performing illegal and immoral acts, as he tries to deal with cheating in exams, bullying and extortion. Hasumin plays his mind games, gathering information to blackmail people, and he slowly and inextricably catches more flies in his web, including a sexual relationship with one of his female students. This escalates to murder when the opportunity presents itself, as Hasumin carefully executes a plan to kill a disrespectful and angry parent and makes it look like an accident. This arouses suspicion from a nosy teacher and leads to a spate of " accidents" and "suicides", as Hasumin evades detection...  <br="" />
In the first act, if you missed the bone-chilling first scene, this could very easily have been mistaken for a coming of age school drama. This is an effective ploy, as it draws the audience into the lives and character of the students, making them more rounded human beings, so when the inevitable unfolds, it makes it all the more horrifying. There is never any real insight into Hasumin's motivation and he has no reason to be a psychopath other than it being his nature. Although well capable of feigning charm, emotion and social behaviour, Hasumi is cold and calculating, without empathy or emotion. His residence is like a reflection of his psyche. Nothing is done out of impulse. Each plan is born from the need to tie up loose ends when relationships reach an impasse and the massacre only occurs due to a misjudgement in his planning. But he will do anything to prevent his true nature from being revealed...

This is a great addition if you are a Miike fan, as this is as intense and extreme as many of his other famous works. This film has been compared with Battle Royale, and the level of violence is similar, but whereas the former is a (very dark) black comedy, Lesson Of The Evil is far more real (despite the gimmicky shotgun pellet vs arrow CGI shot). This is definitely not for the faint of heart, so if you are easily offended please do NOT watch this!

I'll never look at a soldering iron in the same way again!

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray Blu-Ray (DVD is Region 3 and BD is Region A). 

Ito Hideaki, Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Yamada Takayuki, Takaoka Saki,Hayashi Kento, Sometani Shota, Kojima Fujiko

Miike Takashi

In cinema 4th April 2013 (HK)

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