The Warped Ones

Kyonetsu no kisetsu

dir. Koreyoshi Kurahara

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Three hyper-violent teenage hoodlums go on a brutal, bebop-fuelled death trip in Koreyoshi Kurahara's nihilistic delinquent epic.
Given the measured pace and dreamlike atmosphere of Koreyoshi Kurahara's previous film The Woman from the Sea (also screening in this series), it's hard to believe that the brash, abrasive and kinetic The Warped Ones could possibly have been made by the same director, but Kurahara's career is marked by such drastic shifts in genre, style and tone. An aimless-youth film pushed to extremes, The Warped Ones follows a trio of petty criminals freshly released from jail as they swagger through the streets raising hell wherever they go, fuelled by hot jazz and anarchic rage. The film focuses on the gang's leader Akira (Tamio Kawachi), a volatile young pickpocket who becomes fixated on paying back the self-righteous journalist who caused his arrest — he promptly kidnaps and rapes the man's girlfriend upon his release — while furiously lashing out at any and everything that gets in his way. A nihilistic, bebop-scored screed against civilized society, The Warped Ones is "[Kurahara's] berserk magnum opus: an unrestrained banshee wail of libidinal frenzy and lunatic vengeance" (Chuck Stephens).