×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Killers’

The Mo Brothers' repugnantly savage and arguably immoral pic takes torture porn to new levels of cinematic sophistication.

With:

Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Ersya Aurelia. (English, Japanese, Indonesian dialogue)

At two-and-a-quarter hours, “Killers” has plenty to offer genre fans — provided they don’t bolt during its opening scene of a tied-up woman being beaten to death with a mallet by Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura), a Tokyo psycho who uploads a video of the murder to his members-only website. Directed by the Mo Brothers, aka Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (“Macabre”), this repugnantly savage and arguably immoral pic takes torture porn to new levels of cinematic sophistication while telling of exhibitionistic serial killers — Nomura and the Jakarta-based Bayu (Oka Antara) — who sickly compete for online clicks. Beware.

Pouring acid on the dead woman’s body while somber string music plays, Nomura proceeds to buy flowers from Hisae (Rin Takanashi), a sweet young lady who’s an obvious victim-to-be — or perhaps a survivor, depending on the Mo Brothers’ TBD level of mercy. In the meantime, Bayu, an unsuccessful journalist and failed husband who’s addicted to streaming Nomura’s disgusting vids, gets the idea to follow suit with the Tokyo nutcase, but in purportedly principled fashion, as Jakarta kingpin Mr. Dharma (Ray Sahetapy) is an alleged domestic abuser ostensibly overdue for payback.

Where countless crime movies have featured shootouts between rival thugs in separate cars, “Killers” stages an epic gun battle inside a single car (in widescreen, yet), with Bayu, sworn enemy of Dharma’s henchmen, barely walking away. Bayu subsequently messages Nomura, who’s eager to believe he has found a kindred killer in the half-dead journo. Indeed, the fledgling murderer breaks into a house to attack a Dharma associate and captures the heinous act on video. As a result, Bayu is targeted by a dozen of Dharma’s henchmen, leading to a wild action scene that’s implausible and inappropriate to what amounts to a slicked-up slasher film.

A ludicrously loud and grinding musical score by Fajar Yuskemal and Aria Prayogi triggers giggles, presumably by design. Gunnar Nimpuno’s vivid cinematography works in tandem with Arifin Marhan Japri’s sharp cutting to lend an upscale feel to the profoundly sleazy proceedings. With Bayu’s young daughter (Ersya Aurelia) as a potential victim, an action-filled climax set near the top of a skyscraper under construction touts the expert production design of Satoko Saito and Rico Marpaung, and recalls classic John Woo in its operatic twists. Across the board, tech credits are as accomplished as the film’s content is utterly depraved.

Film Review: 'Killers'

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Park City at Midnight), Jan. 23, 2014. Running time: 137 MIN.

Production:

(Japan-Indonesia) An XYZ Films production in co-production with Nikkatsu, Guerilla Merah Films. (International sales: XYZ Films, Marina del Rey.) Produced by Yoshinori Chiba, Kimo Stamboel, Shinjiro Nishimura, Takuji Ushiyama, Timo Tjahjanto. Executive producers, Naoki Sato, Keizo Yuri, Akifumi Sugihara, Kenjiro Toba, Daniel Mananta, Samien Lim, Kerenina Sunny, Rangga Maya Barack-Evans, Gareth Huw Evans, Andrew Suleiman, Stephen Odang, Bernhard Subiakto, Aoura Lovenson Chandra, Damon Hakim. Co-producer, Fauzar Nurdin.

Crew:

Directed by Timo Tjahjanto, Kimo Stamboel. Screenplay, Tjahjanto, Takuji Ushiyam. Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Gunnar Nimpuno; editor, Arifin Marhan Japri; music, Fajar Yuskemal, Aria Prayogi; production designers, Satoko Saito, Rico Marpaung; art director, Adher Rusman; set decorators, Hirohide Shibata, Gemi Nuramdhiani; costume designer, Kazuhiro Sawataishi; sound, Yusuf Patawari, Hidetoshi Gokon; re-recording mixer, Sergey Groshev; stunt coordinators, Masayoshi Deguchi, Eka “Piranha,” Ubay “Piranha,” Saad, Boy, Berlin; line producer, Ray Farandi Pakpahan; associate producers, Tomoo Fukatsu, Lim Young Chien; assistant directors, Gaku Nagao, Ginanti Rona Tembang Asri; casting, Stanlee Saklil.

With:

Kazuki Kitamura, Oka Antara, Rin Takanashi, Luna Maya, Ray Sahetapy, Ersya Aurelia. (English, Japanese, Indonesian dialogue)

More Film

  • Celebrities Sound Off on 2018

    Celebrities Pick Their Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2018

    Still looking for the latest and greatest movie, TV series or book to finish before the year is out? Why not ask the folks behind Hollywood’s favorite hits, what they’re reading and viewing this 2018. We reached out to the stars and creators behind the things you love (including Barry Jenkins, Steven Canals and Dan Levy)  to [...]

  • Kate Winslet Saoirse Ronan

    Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan to Star in Fossil Hunter Movie 'Ammonite'

    Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are starring in the independent historical drama “Ammonite,” a story inspired by the life of fossil hunter Mary Anning. The story is set in 1840s England, when Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever. Anning is [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Salads for two.jpg

    Palm Springs Cuisine Scene: Latest Places to Dine in the Desert

    Desert playgrounds of the Coachella Velley beckon attendees of the upcoming Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival, getting under way Jan. 3. Veteran festgoers will notice some changes around town: the Hard Rock Hotel is again the Hotel Zoso, the Camelot Theaters now function under the auspices of the Palm Springs Cultural Center and there are [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Can You Ever Forgive Me

    How the Palm Springs Film Festival Overcame a Rocky Start

    In January, the Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival will celebrate its 30th birthday. It’s a celebration that came very close to never happening. Founded by then-mayor of Palm Springs Sonny Bono in 1989, the festival was launched the following year to boost post-holiday business and help put the desert enclave on the map as a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content