Visitor Q (2001)

November 17, 2003 • Film, Reviews

[dir: Takashi Miike; writer: Itaru Era]

Cast: Kenichi Endo ( Kiyoshi Yamazaki/Father), Fujiko (I) (Miki Yamazaki/Daughter), Jun Muto (Takuya Yamazaki/Son), Shoko Nakahara (Asako Murata), Ikko Suzuki (Sasaoka), Shungiku Uchida (Keiko Yamazaki/Mother), Kazushi Watanabe (The visitor)

Nut-case director Takashi Miike has done it again, taking every tool of regular moviemaking and throwing it out—presumably into a pile on his front lawn, where he pours gasoline over the whole mess and sets it on fire. Story-logic, character, and visual aesthetics all get the boot in “Visitor Q,” Miike’s latest exercise in free-associative lunacy. This time, Miike’s target is the Japanese nuclear family. What HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS was to THE SOUND OF MUSIC, what ICHI THE KILLER was to THE GODFATHER, VISITOR Q is to “The Cosbys.” The nuclear family gets blown through the roof.

Shot digitally for an already-infamous film series entitled LOVE GENERATION, VISITOR Q is determined to fly in the face of decency as loudly and rudely as possible. Miike seems to be pushing the envelope in an ever-escalating trajectory. It’s the kind of film that starts with incest and culminates in necrophilia. Along the way we get treated to the further degradation and rapid deterioration of our model family, all of whose members get individually involved in increasingly perverse behavior.

Points and meanings behind Takashi Miike movies tend to be vague or warped, trampled-over or just flat-out missing, and VISITOR Q is no exception. It probably means nothing. In spite of that, the movie draws one in a way that is all its own—the evolution of the picture’s perversity becomes, like the best of train wrecks, like the most spectacular burstings of damns and suppurating of wounds, fascinating to behold. The LOVE GENERATION of Miike’s movies is anti-love, anti-politically-correct, anti-everything that most of us erstwhile consumers hold to be important. It’s a movie that spits venom and bile in the most lusty, stylish way possible.




“A prostitute goads her eager father into having sex with her for pay, and that’s only the first taboo shattered in this 2001 video feature from Takashi Miike (Audition), heralded for his gleefully perverse take on contemporary Japan.

The meltdown of the nuclear family continues when the father (Kenichi Endo) returns home to find his school-age son beating his heroin-addicted wife, and a drifter invited to stay with them becomes both a catalyst for and a witness to the sadomasochistic mayhem.

Miike presents his modern Grand Guignol in voyeuristic reality-TV style, exaggerating family roles (career-obsessed husband, alienated housewife, rebellious children) to the point of grotesquerie. The tone is blunt and pornographic but allows for moments of weird poignancy: in one scene the wife gently cleans off her husband after a necrophiliac episode.”

—Ted Chen, Chicago Reader

“Visitor Q, for instance, is essentially an extroversion of the forces normally held under pressure in that tight, oppressive configuration: the Japanese family. A riff on Pasolini’s Teorema, the film is about a stranger, the eponymous Q (Kazushi Watanabe), who releases the repressed yearnings of a suburban family – only in this telling the clan is already pretty far along…Shock is one possible response to Visitor Q, but really Miike has gone beyond the parameters of good and bad taste. In a strange, perverse way, his film is sweet-natured, reaffirming the bonds that hold us together. It may be absurdly exaggerated, but Visitor Q is nothing less than heartfelt. That is Miike’s secret weapon.”

—Dimitri Katadotis, Hour magazine

“Visitor Q is one of the most disturbing and taboo-bashing experimental works from acclaimed director Takashi Miike of Audition, Dead or Alive and Fudoh fame. Visitor Q presents a harrowing, absurdist take on the reality TV phenomenon and depicts the chilling disintegration of a dysfunctional family. Starring Kenichi Endo (Dead or Alive 2, Takeshi Kitano’s Violent Cop), Visitor Q seals Miike’s reputation as one of world cinema’s most daring and dangerous cinematic visionaries.

If you have not seen this film you need to. It is really one of the single strangest films I’ve ever seen. Incest, necrophilia, no topic too taboo! Have you ever been hit on the head? Visitor Q seals Miike’s reputation as one of world cinema’s most daring and dangerous cinematic visionaries.”

—Media Blasters

MidnightEye Miike Interview
MidnightEye VisitorQ review

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