Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man won't sit still. The film seethes with energy, Shinya Tsukamoto's camera hurtles around with DV abandon, inducing a low-level kind of motion sickness. Bullet Man is often physically uncomfortable to watch. Following the acrobatic motion of our latest mutated salaryman is impossible. His actions are lost in a hyper-caffeinated jumble of destruction and shocked reaction shots. Although obviously employed to mask a meagre budget, the spasming point-of-view perfectly tallies with the psychological state of a man transforming into a Brutalist art sculpture.
Like Tetsuo: The Iron Man this optical assault is backed with a clanging industrial noise that runs through the film like a malfunctioning heartbeat. It's oppressive, a restless note that implores progression. Tsukamoto brackets revelation with screens filled with writhing wires and scratched up medical stills. Bullet Man is a collage, a feature-length music video able to suggest a level of narrative coherence through visual consistency. Until it decides to unspool and explain things, Bullet Man sings, reorganising the Oedipal trauma of Tetsuo II: Body Hammer using the visual language of the first film. Tsukamoto can't resist unpacking his ideas though. A backstory involving human vivisection and sex robots is undermined by the kind of stilted, stumbling line readings usually heard overdubbing imported 80s anime.