Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013)

"The pursuit of money is killing cinema."

Sion Sono’s newest film is his masterpiece. I say that every time he comes out with a movie, but this one is so special and personal that even Sono himself believes it, as every frame is completely imbued with his life and philosophy. The plot is about an explosively funny Yakuza rivalry that becomes documented by “The Fuck Bombers”, a young DIY film crew that’s based on Sono’s own filmmaking club from the 90’s. The main character is a young director who’s cinema obsessed and hellbent on making the greatest movie ever. Hirata, who is essentially Sion Sono, makes a wish to the Movie God that he would die for the perfect film. Through an extremely silly matter of circumstance his prayer is answered as he gets to direct a real-life Yakuza action movie, a climax that is 40 minutes of nonstop gore and insanity. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? feels like the ultimate remix and compilation of all of Sono’s previous work, a ton of previous cast members and soundtracks make a return as well as Sono’s sharp style of radical filmmaking and tonal shifts. The film feels epic in scope like Love Exposure yet it runs at a tight 2 hours and 10 minutes. What’s most inspiring about this is that Sono wrote the script 20 years ago, when he founded the original Fuck Bombers and aspired to make the best movie ever. After 31 films, he’s finally accomplished his dream.

It won’t be available in the US until Drafthouse releases it next year, but until then you can start obsessing over Sion Sono by watching his other great films such as Cold Fish (on Netflix), Love Exposure, Guilty of Romance, Noriko’s Dinner Table, and Himizu. He’s my favorite filmmaker in the world and once again I’m ignited by his genius.

Teaser | Trailer