Love Exposure

Love Exposure ★★

' Love Exposure' asks the question ' What's wrong with being a pervert?' To which I can only respond with 'Quite a lot actually!' This wearying four hour splurge of ideas often misses the mark. After about an hour or so, director Sion Sono runs out of interesting things to say.
We follow Yu as he experiences religion, perversion, sexual discovery and love. Along the way Sono pretends to be forward thinking and feminist by having a poorly drawn character called Yoko beat up lots of men and say things like ' All men are scum' but forgets that he's already projected the misconceived idea that a man sexually abusing women by 'upskirting' is in some way funny. And that there may be something truthful and even noble about being a ' super duper pervert.' Nah! There's a hell of a difference between espousing ideas regarding sexual liberation and sympathising with sex offenders.
Like an album that's been badly sequenced, ' Love Exposure' flits shoddily from one mood to the next failing to congeal into anything satisfactory or worthwhile and instead leaves a great big mess. Various themes feel awkwardly executed or are simply too thin to be believable. A section that involves cross dressing is based around the tenuous premise that if a man puts on a dress and speaks in a slightly higher pitch then he instantly becomes unrecognisable. Are we really supposed to accept that Yoko is so unobservant that she wouldn't spot that Yu's alter ego 'Miss Scorpion' is actually Yu? I thought she was supposed to be a smart, independent thinking feminist. No!? I don't believe it. There's a fine line between suspension of disbelief and presenting an idea that is so ill thought and stupid as to be lacking in plausibility.
That's not to say that ' Love Exposure' is a total misfire and when it addresses the notion that hypocrisy is often found within those that act like moral purveyors it raises some interesting questions about the idea of 'sin' and what it is to be sinful. But it's like Sono always feels compelled to repeat himself several times just in case you didn't hear him the first time. Once Yoko quotes Corinthians : ' Faith, hope and love' we get the message, we don't need this line repeated( screamed) many more times. If the director wants to take such an inordinate amount of time to tell the audience that love is the most important thing then at least don't relate your belief to something as obvious as biblical scripture when you've spent a long time being critical of religious authorities who tell people what to do. You've got to have a bloody good reason for making a film that stretches to 3 hours, let alone 4 and Sono was convinced that he needed 237 minutes to tell his story. Shame it amounts to not much more than a confused and contradictory blend of ingredients that feel over cooked and tasteless.

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