Promotional release poster
|Directed by||Takashi Miike|
|Written by||Sakichi Sato|
|Music by||Kôji Endô|
|Edited by||Yasushi Shimamura|
|Distributed by||Cinema Epoch|
Gozu (極道恐怖大劇場 牛頭 ＧＯＺＵ Gokudō kyōfu dai-gekijō: Gozu, literally: Yakuza Horror Theatre: Cow's Head) is a 2003 Japanese horror comedy crime film directed by Takashi Miike and written by Sakichi Sato.
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Ozaki, a member of the yakuza, kills a chihuahua outside a restaurant after becoming convinced that it is actually an attack dog trained to kill gangsters. The yakuza boss, seeing Ozaki as a security risk, orders Ozaki's underling, Minami, to kill him. Minami, reluctant to murder Ozaki, unwittingly kills him when a car comes to a sudden stop, breaking Ozaki's neck. After entering a coffee shop to find a phone, Minami returns to discover that Ozaki's body is missing, He then sets out to explore the nearly-deserted, run-down suburb of Nagoya in a desperate attempt to recover the body, only to find himself caught in a series of violent, bizarre, and increasingly surreal situations.
Shot on a low budget, the movie was originally planned for direct-to-video release on DVD, but its positive reception at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2003 secured its theatrical release overseas.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 72%, based on 57 reviews. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film has a score of 58 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews". In a review for The Washington Post, Michael O'Sullivan wrote that "'Gozu' makes little sense on paper. As a film, however, it somehow feels richly, hilariously real, even – at its most bizarre – familiar." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe called it "creatively unhinged" and referred to it as "not your average midnight movie but something more hermetic." Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel also reviewed the film positively, writing that "there is something compelling about the way this film sneakily taps into our collective psychosexual fantasies."
A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that "For Mr. Miike's fans, it will be an indispensable compendium of outtakes and sketches. For others, it will be a mystifying and provocative introduction to his unnerving, wanton and prodigious imagination." Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post wrote that the film "is not in line with [Miike's] best work". G. Allen Johnson of SFGate wrote that the film "is for Miike freaks only (and you know who you are). Everyone else: Stay far, far away." Jeff Shannon of The Seattle Times called the film "an undisciplined mess", writing that it "trades Lynch's nightmare logic for exasperating incoherence".
- "Anything But Banal; Takashi Miike on "Gozu" and His Ups and Downs". IndieWire. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- "Gozu (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Johnson, G. Allen (17 September 2004). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". SFGate. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Shannon, Jeff (24 September 2004). "Shockmeister's "Gozu" is supernaturally stupefying". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Mes, Tom (21 May 2003). "Midnight Eye review: Gozu (Gokudo Kyofu Daigekijo Gozu, 2003, Takashi MIIKE". Midnight Eye. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Gozu (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- "Gozu Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
- O'Sullivan, Michael (10 September 2004). "'Gozu': Weird Fellas". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Burr, Ty (13 August 2004). "Engrossing 'Gozu' veers off road of reality". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Boyar, Jay (10 September 2004). "MONSTER-MOBSTER MASH – GROTESQUE, GRIPPING". Orlando Sentinel. NYDailyNews.com. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Scott, A. O. (30 July 2004). "FILM IN REVIEW; 'Gozu'". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Hunter, Stephen (10 September 2004). "'Gozu': A Japanese Leap Into Strangeness". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2019.