by Chris MaGee
At the tail end of a relaxing Labour Day Weekend and what pops up online? The trailer for Shinya Tsukamoto's long anticipated, much hyped "Tetsuo the Bulletman". The story of an American businessman who starts exhibiting some disturbing mechanical symptoms after the death of his son looks, if not in line with the first two films in Tsukamoto's iconic trilogy, then in line with his recent projects like "Nightmare Detective" and its recent sequel. Is that a good thing? I know quite a few people who enjoyed those films, but for me they seemed like a bit of a regressive step after Tsukamoto's sublime 2004 film "Vital". When I heard the initial news in May that the mysterious "Bullet Man" project that Shinya Tsukamoto had been casting for was in fact a Tetsuo film I hoped that this would be a return to the glorious, teeth-rattling experimentation of his early days. Now, on the tail of "Bulletman's" premiere at the Venice Film Festival, word from Todd Brown at Twitch is that not only is "Bulletman" not a return to for but.... Well, I'll let his words speak for themselves: "An enormous disappointment, the only way Tetsuo The Bullet Man could ever be considered a success is if Tsukamoto's goal in making it was to prevent anyone from ever asking him to make another." Ouch! He goes on to slam the cinematography, script, and Tsukamoto's choice to shoot the film in n English, something that bothered me when I first heard about the film. One need only look to another iconic Japanese filmmaker, Takeshi Kitano, and his huge misfire "Brother" to see what the perils of directing in a language that's not your own can lead to.
Not having seen the film myself is "Don't kill the messenger," and check out the trailer below and draw you own conclusions.