TL;DR – Starts of being a look in how people explore trauma and then becomes a case study in abusive relationships
Score – 1 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – I don’t know if there is a no post-credit scene
Warning – This film has extensive depictions of abuse
I have watched a lot of films in my life and I have review hundreds of them over the years on this site. There have been a number of films that had I not been watching them for review I probably would have turned off the TV or walked out of the theatre but I haven’t because of a sense of professionalism. However, today we view a film that finally broke me. I have not seen the end of this film before writing the review, nor do I care to find out what happened.
So to set the scene, we open in on Japan, beset by news of a serial killer, as we see a certain Joe Murata (Kippei Shîna) being creepy as hell. Elsewhere there is a guy that is new to Tokyo and quickly befriends a bunch of filmmakers. They find out he is a virgin and so they take him to their friend, who then takes all of them to help get an old classmate to appear in their next play. That same classmate who Joe Murata has just set his eyes on.
there is so much to unpack from this film even without seeing the end. The
first is the sheer contempt it has towards women, they are all gullible,
suicidal, capricious, jealous, and worse. At first, it looked like the film was
setting this up to be an exploration as to how different people deal with a
past trauma but nothing could be further from the truth. That being said the
film is using a lot of Shakespeare, specifically the play Romeo and Juliet as a thematic basis and Shakespeare was not known
for his rounded view of depicting women, but it goes far beyond that.
This leads us into the abuse portion of the film, which I am sorry is just indefensible. There are multiple scenes of abuse, torture, and rape within the film. None of this is justified by the content of the film, even less so the number of them that appear. For example, two characters walk in and find out that one of the women are being abused, they then discover that Murata is abusing their other friend too, and then they agree for him to help them with their film. There is no thematic or story justification that can make that complete 180° character turn work.
This is a film that creates a character in a father of one of the girls who is reprehensible and abusive and then goes guess what, he’s not even the worst person. I tried to get through it, I said to myself you sat through all of A Cure for Wellness, you can set through this. Well about the time they started chopping up the body of one of their friends because Murata asked them to I was reminded of something that brought up in what is now an old video game Spec Ops: The Line. At any point you could have put down the controller and not participated in the abuses in the game but you chose not to. Well this time I chose to act, and that act was to stop watching a film and its abuse.
So in the end, I hope I don’t have to tell you if I recommend The Forest of Love or not, but in case you missed it, no, no we do not. I do not recommend checking it out just to see, I do not recommend hate watching it, nor do I recommend you watching just to see what all the fuss is about.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched The Forest of Love?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Forest of Love
Directed/Written by – Sion Sono
Production/Distribution Companies – Netflix
Starring – Denden, Kyoko Hinami, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Michael Shen, Kippei Shîna, Takato Yonemoto
Rating – Australia: R18+;