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Why Don’t You Play In Hell? [2013]: An Independent Filmmaker’s Wet Dream!

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“I see! We are in reality and they are in the fantasy. Reality is going to lose!” – Why Don’t You Play In Hell? 

why don't you play in hell

It is an established fact that Sono’s film making is unique. Its niche appeal doesn’t stop his brilliance from swirling round his cinema’s corridors. The bizarre factor in his movies is what I have adored and have grown to love. His story-telling and presentation are paradigms of independent film making. When a child asks for a scoop of ice-cream, Sono gives him the whole bucket. The articulate architect has always been fond of building and this time, his lego pieces are the Yakuza. The story of ‘Why Don’t You Play in Hell? [Jigoku de naze warui] ‘ revolves around two clans, a filmmaker driven by the desire of making the greatest film of his life, a high-school kid and a tale of their concurring paths.




Muto, the boss to his clan and vier to Ikegami, remains at equity in loving his woman and searching for another when his wife has her day occupied. Why Don’t You Play In Hell? starts with a toothpaste commercial followed by a couple of high school kids making a small time film.
The director albeit busy notices a street war and that day becomes the end of his search when he finds the odd one out in teenage group struggle. “What are you doing?”, says Sasaki. “Filming”, says the director, “Keep looking at each other. Perfect, perfect face, don’t let go of that tension. Go on! go on! You guys are awesome. Don’t stop.”
The irritating camera from the sidelines zooming in on Sasaki when he is on the verge of ending those bastards. He thwarts the cameraman, punches the director. “Film it. Them! You are supposed to fight them!”, the director, “Come on! Tighten your stomachs. That’s it, you too. Keep the tension. Glare at each other.”



A van stops. The driver, “Get out of our way’
Sasaki and Hirata, “Go back.”
“We have to take this road. Move over!”
“No space to move over.”
“Do that at school.”
“To hell with you!”
When Sono’s classical music plays in the background, there’s no looking anywhere else. If you find a dull moment in the film, let me know. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? has an abundance of entertaining moments and more than that, it is packed, punched, pushed and penetrated with spirit. The movie is silly, hilarious and a mess.
But thanks to the pulsating background score, enjoying the transcendent high is just the beginning. There are a mountain, a proper road and a map for navigation. But to hell with that, Why Don’t You Play in Hell gets a chopper and fires in the heart of the beast. Why? Well, because – fuck reality.

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The characters are amazing. From Koji, Mitsuko, Hirata to Muto, everybody has their share of hilarity and fusion on the screen. The concordat grows only stronger when the ordinary lives of an ambitious filmmaker group unite with the routine of the Yakuza’s raid. The amount of gore and violence glued with special effects keep on adding to your Sono experience.

If I had to choose a personal favourite from the character index, it would be Ikegami. Simply because the clod in him has been done so brilliantly. His obsession with Mitsuko, the ecstatic monologues and even his avid dealings with his associates. Brilliant! There’s hardly a word of scathe for him in my diary.




If you were looking for a semi-sociopath woman, you’ve come to the right place. In fact, there are two of them here. Mitsuko the famous toothpaste commercial star and Junko, her mother. Granted that we do not see much of Junko, her character has been executed well. And Mitsuko is another entry in my diary of fantastic characters. Her punk-esque taste in clothing and her measure for measure personality is a charm on the screen.

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In a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen, Sion Sono is not a director who treads lightly. He delves into a variety of themes in his films and his harsh and eccentric approach is what makes his films so special. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? packs 129 minutes of adrenaline crammed drama which continually perplexes your expectations. There is a level of pandemonium which only a few directors have dared to achieve. If there’s a fantasy in you to quit your job and do something violent for that thirsty killer in you, the Japanese thriller is your knight in shining armour. 

★★★★½

Author: K Gopal Krishna

Cinemaphile and TV buff, Gopal has been writing reviews from a while now and with each constructive criticism, he has tried to improve. His favourite movies are Fight Club and Love Exposure. He has a great liking towards The Perks of Being a Wallflower as well. When he’s not watching movies or tv shows, his interests conquer the gadget world. He’s a big fan of Doctor Who and considers David Tennant to be his Doctor.

Links: IMDb

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