Shinya Tsukamoto has infused TETSUO: THE IRON MAN with a satirical sensibility--as well as a graphic blend of violence and sexuality--that makes this featurette a wildly original departure from standard sci-fi.
In a disturbingly realistic scene prior to the opening credits, viewers see a young man (Tsukamoto) wandering through an abandoned factory. In between close-ups of discarded machinery and cables, the youth, a metals fetishist, carves open his upper thigh and implants a piece of metal tubing. The
next character viewers encounter is a bespectacled young man in a business suit, a typical "salaryman" (Tomoroh Taguchi), against a background of steel mill processes. While shaving, he notices a small metal thorn growing out of his face, and he seems to have flashbacks of a hit-and-run accident
involving the metals fetishist.
While commuting to work, the salaryman has to fight off a young woman (Nobu Kanaoka) who is suddenly controlled by a mutant substance that converts her arm into a fungoid claw. Even the salaryman's dreams seem contaminated, since he has a nightmare in which a mutated woman sodomizes him with an
enormous metallic phallus. Later, while making love to his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara), the salaryman finds that he is changing into a collection of machinery and runs to hide. Undaunted, the woman tries to console him, until she realizes the extent of his mutation--his penis now boasts a
power-driven screw head!
The frankly erotic element alone would distinguish this production, but it also features a fractured continuity that demands attention, if only to figure out what is going on. The contortion of the narrative line, like the graphic emphasis on sex and blood, emphasizes the alien nature of mutation;
Tsukamoto's creatures are not just plain folks with odd body parts, but original monsters. Although not for the priggish or squeamish, Tsukamoto's film is both outstanding sci-fi and a smart, gleefully perverse satire of urban dehumanization in an age increasingly dominated by commodity fetishism
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: Shinya Tsukamoto has infused TETSUO: THE IRON MAN with a satirical sensibility--as well as a graphic blend of violence and sexuality--that makes this featurette a wildly original departure from standard sci-fi. In a disturbingly realistic scene prior to t… (more)