DIFF 2014 Film Review: ‘R100’ by Director Hitoshi Matsumoto – There’s a silly mastery of the sexual in R100 that never relents


Review by: Bill Graham

There’s a silly mastery of the sexual in R100 that never relents. Whether you find the movie to be your flavor or not, you can tell that director Hitoshi Matsumoto is determined to infuse as many layers as he can to what could have been a very singular, one-note comedy. We follow Takafumi Katayama along his daily life. He’s just an ordinary man who takes care of his young son at home while also visiting his comatose wife in the hospital. However, he’s looking for something more from life and that’s when he decides to try a secretive S&M club.

You pay a set fee for a year of service. But you don’t visit. Oh, no. They deliver. While he continues to live a normal life, unannounced leather-clad dominatrices suddenly appear in public to give him a lashing of various methods. Each of them almost feels like a boss fight in a video game- they all have a different, often hilarious skill that they utilize. This certainly breaks up his routine and the absurdity often comes from the situations they appear. They dominate him in a public restroom, on the side of a street, or even at a sushi restaurant. No where is safe and you never know when to expect them. Most of the people in public seem to simply avoid making this a bigger scene than it already is, but they notice as they often end up slack-jawed or hurriedly go about their own business.

This is the extraordinary in the ordinary setting of modern day Japan. When sexual satisfaction is complete for Katayama, his eyes darken and we see a ripple effect emitted from his skull that we can observe beyond objects blocking our view. In fact, as sexual and wild as the film is, it’s relatively free of anything sexually explicit. There was nary any nudity nor any normal intercourse. While I can’t comment on the cultural leanings of Japan, I’d say this is more in service of the film itself, heightening the absurd comedy of it all.

And while the film flows quickly enough, it takes a much different tone when Katayama decides he’s had enough. You can’t break the original agreement otherwise you are punished. Well, that’s kind of the goal anyways but even the police won’t help him out. He tries to leave under a gentlemanly fashion, but when that doesn’t stop the onslaught of dominatrices he resorts to other methods. Soon enough director Matsumoto flexes his absurd visionary muscles as we see an army of dominatrices descend upon Katayama to much hilarity. The set pieces are pulled off with a gonzo sense of humor that leaves you wondering where it can go to next. Running for 100 minutes, R100 is a fantastical sex comedy that weaves in the absurd, the dramatic, and hilarious while dominating your senses.

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