By Darin Skaggs
You know how to win film awards? You’re going to want to give us some laughs, but make it mostly serious, give a finale where tears will stream down our face even after the credits roll. Also make sure you put nothing too weird in it. Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? takes these ideas and completely ignores them and gives the feeling that film should give out, a sense of utter excitement and fun.
While being fun and exciting it is also very confusing. There is a mob boss, Muto (Jun Kunimura) whose wife is imprisoned for murdering people who were sent with a hit on him. She is about to get out and as a sort of welcome home gift he wants his daughter, Mitsuko (Fumi Nikaido), who was once a big young toothpaste commercial star, to star in a movie. Ikegami (Shinichi Tsutsumi) is a nobody who is mistaken for a filmmaker by Muto, and will be killed if he doesn’t make the film. So he enlists the help of a group of inspiring filmmakers.
As you can tell the plot goes everywhere, yet Sono decided to fill it with crazy moments that at times don’t even make sense. He does not care about consistency of plot or any logic to be applied to any of the happenstance. Most of the stuff that happens is silly; there is the weirdest use of vomiting in maybe any film, a little girl dances in a pool of blood, it somehow still comes out adorable, and the cherry on top is the biggest, bloodiest fight scene that can’t help but to top itself every step of the way.
All that makes it one of the funniest films of the year, it also accomplishes being one of the best action flicks. The end is a bloody mess and that is not even mentioning every action scene before it. The filmmakers and plot about creating the piece speaks to film as a whole. It is a celebration of the art of cinema. It is overly pretentious by having way too much fun with itself, and mixes art and excitement so well that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is an insane work of art. It is one of the funniest, pretentious, crazy action movies of any generation. It does not concern itself with following any rules whatsoever and will have you coming back again and again.