Scrap Heaven


Paralyzed by his own lily-livered demeanor, Japanese police clerk Shingo (Ryo Kase, Letters From Iwo Jima) fails to control a hijacked bus situation, humiliating both himself and one-eyed pharmacist Saki (Kill Bill‘s mace-chucking Chiaki Kuriyama), and leaving a bullet hole in punky sanitation worker Tetsu (Jô Odagiri). After months of take-charge daydreaming, Shingo bumps into and unloads his suppressed guilt onto the equally fed-up shooting victim; two of society’s rejects become instant buds. With his anarchically puckish outlook, Tetsu emboldens his wimpy cohort to join him in a revenge-for-profit biz that advertises only via bathroom graffiti, like an underground, Tyler Durdenesque fight-back club. It’s a reference not lost on this fanboy psychodramedy’s writer-director Lee Sang-il (Hula Girls), whose pomo flair plays with many a Fincher standard (particularly an explosion that knocks the film itself off its sprockets). Lee’s visual jazziness and cast are compelling, but nothing can compensate for a deflated, toilet-humored script that negates its potential for sharp social satire with increasingly adolescent and superficial vilifying philosophies. What begins as a naughty string of Punk’d skits against arguably deserving oppressors— negligent doctors, abusive mothers— escalates without self-awareness into anti-police delinquency and, eventually, glorifying kill-em-all nihilism.