“Same blue sky in a strange new world” – Lucy Monostone.
These enigmatically appropriate soundtrack lyrics set the tone for possibly the weirdest cop drama ever filmed.
An adaption of the Eiji Ōtsuka/Shou Tajima manga of the same name, Takashi Miike’s 2000 six-part MPD Psycho mini-series for Japanese TV is a mind-fuck from start to finish.
From the scenes of women with flowers planted in their heads, to murdered gravid ladies with cell-phones stuck in their wombs, to a punk with an eye on his tongue, to a group of Christian schoolgirls committing mass suicide (delegated murder really) during mass :-), Miike amps up the oddity to 11.
The core story, about retired criminal profiler Amamiya Kazuhiko (whose second personality murdered the man who killed his wife), who is brought back into police service to track down an escaped programmed personality that turns people with barcodes in their left eyes into killers, doesn’t disappoint either.
MPD psycho really has to be watched to be believed.
There are shadowy government agencies, conspiracies within conspiracies, a plethora of odd but interesting characters, people spontaneously bursting into flame, and another (benign) programmed personality that keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. (And that’s just scratching the surface.) There are also, within the core plot, several subplots, generally one per episode, by which background story elements are fleshed out.
The series tackles themes of love and friendship, family and duty, the government’s desire/need to control, and oddly, the public’s desire to be controlled by the government . . . this last a controversial idea for certain, but definitely a plausible one.
While not exactly a one-shoe-fits-all movie, MPD definitely has more than enough to keep your interest all the way through it. Despite its length, there are almost no dull moments.
Here, Miike does what he does best–entertain the viewer.
There’s little else one can say about MPD Psycho, except that this series is definitely worth the time taken to watch it. If you’re either a fan of cyberpunk cinema, are interested in film that explores what happens when technology becomes intrusive (and when software becomes human!), or simply want to watch a cop drama that’s way out of the ordinary, then MPD Psycho is definitely for you.
As the super-eerie theme song goes: “Same blue sky in a strange new world.”
Never were truer movie words spoken.