×
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

  • Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino Documentary 'QT8: The First Eight' Scores Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Wood Entertainment has completed sales for France, Germany, Turkey, Italy and Russia for “QT8: The First Eight,” a documentary that chronicles Quentin Tarantino’s first eight films. The first buyers’ screening took place on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino’s ninth film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” premiered at Cannes on Tuesday night. Producer [...]

  • 'Asbury Park' Doc Covers Bruce Springsteen,

    Film Review: 'Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock 'N Roll'

    A civic Phoenix story is promised and effectively delivered in “Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘N Roll,” even if there’s little doubt that what much of the audience will be hoping for from this documentary is Bruce, the whole Bruce and nothing but the Bruce. The film satisfies a good portion of that craving with [...]

  • Timothy Olyphant Once Upon a Time

    Timothy Olyphant Explains Why He Did 'Hitman' Movie

    The 2007 film adaptation of the “Hitman” video game franchise is … not good. It received a score of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics panning its incoherent plot and terrible dialogue. So, why did actor Timothy Olyphant take on the lead role as Agent 47? He had a mortgage to pay, he told [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    Daniel Craig to Undergo Ankle Surgery After 'Bond 25' Injury

    Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after sustaining an injury while filming “Bond 25.” “Daniel Craig will be undergoing minor ankle surgery resulting from an injury sustained during filming in Jamaica,” the franchise’s official Twitter account posted. “Production will continue whilst Craig is rehabilitating for two weeks post-surgery. The film remains on track for the [...]

  • Oh Mercy

    Cannes Film Review: 'Oh Mercy'

    It takes more than just watching “Oh Mercy” to understand exactly why Arnaud Desplechin was drawn to the subject matter of his latest movie, a reasonably engrossing police procedural with roots in a 2008 TV documentary. Something of an unexpected detour in the veteran director’s weighty career, the film combines multiple strands to paint a [...]

  • Spielberg's Amblin Chief Jeff Small on

    Listen: Spielberg's Amblin Chief on Making 'Movies in the Middle'

    With the sequel “A Dog’s Journey” now in theaters, Amblin Partners continues to find ways to release the kind of films that aren’t typical of what dominates American multiplexes these days. An follow-up to the 2017 surprise hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Journey” is just another example of the cinematic strategy evident at Amblin, the production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content