Doug Brod
August 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Is it an artful indictment of a society’s primitive attitude toward women, or is it an exploitatively violent psychosexual revenge fantasy? It’s both, and it’s awful good. In Takashi Miike’s bipolar thriller, a middle-aged widowed producer decides to set up phony auditions to land a wife. But when he meets his perfect mate, a damaged ex-ballet dancer, he gets sucked into a nightmare of Lynchian disproportions. Don’t be deceived by the quiet, very deliberate first half; this tough, witty grotesquerie aims to shock with a torture sequence so intense it’ll make your curls curl.

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