Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 30th, 2013
BluRay released: June 10th, 2013
Approximate running time: 134 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese
BluRay Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region B (UK)
Retail Price: £13.99
Takashi Miike is a rare breed of filmmaker. Where most filmmakers find a genre that they are most comfortable working within. His main concern is just to keep on working and whenever he does venture into new territory, he always leaves behind a unique imprint that is undeniable him. And though he does adhere to existing genre clichés. His greatest talent as a filmmaker is excusing said clichés by creating something that feels like you are discovering for the first time.
In recent years Miike has ventured into slightly more mainstream fared films, well at least mainstream compared to his previous output. And yet despite this shift closer towards the middle. He has always remained true to his distinctive vision as a filmmaker. One could almost say that he has brought the more mainstream audiences closer to his style of cinema and not that other way around.
Content wise, For Love’s Sake see’s Miike venture once again into a genre that he had yet to put his own spin on, the musical. Besides being rooted within the musical genre. There are two films that this film owes a very small debt too West Side Story and Grease. Another influence that clearly dominates the majority of what is unfolding onscreen is how this film’s style draws heavily from the youth / action films that Toei made in the 1970’s.
So how are said musical set pieces in this film? In short they deliriously sublime. I have to admit that going into this film I was unsure how Miike would handle the aforementioned musical set pieces and how they would affect me once I viewed them. Needless to say my fears were unwarranted, since the Miike proves once again that he a knack for making everything he does engaging and most importantly entertaining.
As mentioned before the look of the film, though artificial in design it is superbly realized. Not only does this film use your standard live action photography to relay the story at hand. It also throws anime and other moments that can be best described as something that is akin to Salvador Dalí. Also pacing proves not to be issue despite the film’s two hour plus running time. There is a good balance between the more dramatic and musical oriented moments. And last but not least, let’s forget the highly stylized fight scenes that are brutal and bloody.
Performance wise, the entire cast are all great in their respective roles. And trying to pinpoint just one performance as being stronger then the next is not an easy task. Since there are so many wonderful performances in this film. With that being said, this film’s most memorable performance is that of Sakura Andô (Love Exposure) in the role of a gum chewing tough as nails girl gang leader named Gum-ko.
For Love’s Sake comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. From top to bottom this is a solid transfer that does a extraordinary job retaining this film’s very specific intended look. Also there are no issues with compression or DNR.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese and removable English subtitles have been provided with this release. Dialog comes through with crystal clear clarity and everything sounds balanced. Range wise the full spectrum of the soundtrack is exploited for all its worth and then some. And the musically numbers all sound appropriately robust and bombastic when they need too.
Extras for this release include trailers for Land of Hope and For Love’s Sake, option of watching all the musically numbers from the film all at once or individually and thirty five minute ‘Making of’ featurette that included comments from the cast and crew. Overall For Love’s Sake gets a first rate release from Third Window Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Third Window Films on DVD.