Saturday, 25 May 2013
Men Behind the Sun (1988).
Vile and disgusting things have happened, and are still happening in the world. Some people take these things, and make movies about them. Some sensationalize the things that happen, and some do not show the viewer everything. Men Behind the Sun is one such movie that doesn't even begin to show what happened to the Chinese who were captured by the Japanese Unit 731, and believe me, it is still one of the most vile and disturbing pieces of cinema I have ever witnessed.
The whole movie, from the outset has such a nihilistic feeling about it. Cruelty is commonplace. Compassion is rare. The backbone of the story follows the training of a group of young recruits, who are sent to Unit 731 to learn about it's purpose and it's incredibly vile and depraved objectives. The film begins incredibly innocently, but it quickly disposes of any niceties and replaces them with what are in my opinion, the most grotesque and vile imagery I have ever seen.
In every review I have read about this movie, three spoilers are always given. I am not going to give anything away. I will say that the tone of the movie smothers the viewer with cruelty and oppression. The special FX are incredible. Not over the top in the slightest, but grounded in realism and incredibly disturbing. There are three scenes that do not feature special FX. One where a real cat is thrown into a room filled with starving rats, one where a young boy (who doubles for a real life cadaver which seems to have a mustache) has his organs removed, and one where a cadaver doubles for a man put into a pressure chamber. These scenes make the contents of the movie even more sickening, but the realism, be it FX or real, only adds to the despicable cruelty of Unit 731, and the real events that actually happened.
Despite the incredibly graphic nature, animal cruelty and using real cadavers, the movie is incredibly watchable, with superb acting and cinematography with lots of dark moody lighting and tight close up shots of the young soldiers reactions to the experiments.
I really couldn't recommend this movie to many, as it really is a sickening and disturbing piece of cinema. Those with a historical interest might have their interest piqued if they want to learn more about Unit 731, but casual horror fans, splatter fans and non-horror fans might do well to stay away, as this movie is in no way enjoyable, and will stay in the viewers mind for a long long time after.