You can’t escape the past.
Wandering through an unforgiving Icelandic landscape, a cop who’s seen too much finds he can still be surprised — though not necessarily in a good way — in this fairly-unique mystery thriller.
The complex case sprawling out in from him stretches back decades, hitting on murder most foul, rape, corrupt cops, and a rare disease wreaking havoc on multiple lives.
So, not exactly a laugh-a-minute comedy, is what I’m saying, I guess.
But, if you like your foreign detective flicks to be gorgeously downbeat and moody as all get out, this is a trip worth taking.
The truth will set you free.
You just might not have all your body parts left when that happens, however.
Things get gnarly when a deeply-disturbed young man unleashes a vendetta, kidnapping and torturing a business leader who he believes is secretly a reptilian ET bent on world domination.
Grisly, yet also giggle-inducing at times, this loopy South Korean treat starts bizarre, then jams the gas pedal through the floor on its way to full-on demented status.
Not for those who get panicky at the sight of gore, maybe, but a worthy trip for those who embrace the surreal.
Taboo to mainstream.
What a long, strange trip for this tale of Japanese schoolkids forced to fight to the death on a far-flung island.
The final film from a 40-year career for director Kinji Fukasaku, it predates The Hunger Games novels by almost a decade, and originally could only be seen on often-fuzzy bootleg tapes.
Nowadays, I can just fire up my Roku and find this ripe slice of the ol’ ultraviolence on any of a hundred streaming channels.
Either way, it was, and is, a punch to the gut in a way no PG-13 blockbuster ripoff/homage can ever be.
Have sword, will annihilate.
In the later Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns based on this Japanese samurai film, the human killing machine could do his work from a distance, thanks to the power of guns.
Here, Toshiro Mifune, one of the great bad-ass warriors in cinema history, has to get in close to let his blade do its full damage.
Slicing ‘n dicing, twirling ‘n whirling, his rōnin is a hack-happy avenging angel, out to wash the stench of evil warlords from the land. One body at a time.
Hugely influential, it continues to inspire action films to this day.
I went into this serial killer thriller knowing one thing — it was foreign — but even then didn’t have a clue what language would be pouring out of the TV.
Turns out it’s from Poland, and stars the bristling Małgorzata Kożuchowska, who reminds me a lot of Cate Blanchett.
Here, she’s a deeply-grieving cop whose life is upended by a series of bizarre murders, all tied to local history, and all with the departed being major a-holes.
The twists and turns are frequent, the atmosphere is grim times 100, and Kożuchowska is first-rate.
This one stings, in a good way.