Funny how an accident changes everything, innit? Well, every once in a blue moon, you have a film which is as chaotic as a ten car highway wreck, which is befitting of Tetsuo: The Iron Man. It is bizarre. It is avant-garde. It is creative. It is kinetic. It is an adrenaline rush which, from the moment it begins, is unrelenting in its assault on the senses. This makes for quite the viewing experience, so much so that taking in the sights and sounds leaves the viewer floored yet fascinated. This, in conjunction with Tsukamoto’s passion, is why the film works. He makes the most of the budget and it shows. Whether he is emphasizing the mile-minute pacing of the stop motion animation or the grotesque appearance of the titular character, the effort is present.
I can’t get over the unconventional nature of the camerawork. Its emphasis on the details of the industrial milieu is complemented quite fittingly by the deliberate yet inquisitive movement, which adds to the immersion. With this in mind, since pieces of machinery, bundles of cables, and metallic surfaces are on display, they convey that the world of Tetsuo is such that technology has taken over. Mankind has been usurped as a result of its innovations, which is a scary thought which Tsukamoto bears in mind as flesh is consumed by metal.
The film also tackles the loss of identity. This brings to mind the salaryman who, although he is loyal to the corporation for which he works, doesn’t seem content with his life. In fact, he doesn’t have much to live for, so the moments which depict his transformation are moments which, aside from being repulsive, illustrate that he is being stripped of his identity in order to make room for a new one. Not only does give the contrast between man and machine depth, but it indicates that Tsukamoto is conscious of what defines an individual, which serves as the cherry on top of the film’s visceralness.
I don’t have much else to say about this film other than it is a nightmarish vision of flesh and metal. If you can get behind that, then chances are you won’t stand out like a sore thumb due to metal spike protruding from your cheek.cybe