Review: So the S&M-themed ‘R100’ is meant to be funny?


Like some lunatic hybrid of David Fincher’s “The Game” and Takashi Miike’s “Audition” reimagined as a comedy, “R100” revolves around a one-year subscription to an S&M service — much like a fruit-of-the-month club, only with a selection of dominatrixes paying surprise visits to administer an assortment of pain.

Mild-mannered furniture salesman Takafumi Katayama (Nao Omori of “Ichi the Killer”) initially seems to be a happy customer who reaches a state of CGI-enhanced euphoria after each session — until the dominatrixes give his adorable son, Arashi (Haruki Nishimoto), a hogtied voodoo doll and show up at the furniture store unannounced. Takafumi wants out, but no-can-do.

With Takafumi’s wife comatose in a hospital, the film’s stark juxtaposition of domestic melodrama and gonzo exploitation is very much reminiscent of “Audition.” Whereas the Miike film turned into a feverish anxiety dream about feminist revolt, “R100” suggests that extreme and perverse films allow the everyman to seek thrills in his otherwise-monotonous life.


As it turns out, “R100” is also a film within a film, directed by a 100-year-old director and meant for 100-year-old viewers. An exasperated studio committee pokes at its glaring plot holes in smoking breaks during the screening of a rough cut. “R100” director and co-writer Hitoshi Matsumoto’s 100-year-old surrogate likewise reaches that state of euphoria at the sight of the fruits of his labor, although we viewers might only find it moderately amusing.


No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Playing: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Los Angeles. Also on VOD.