Unfolding through multiple flashbacks, Ogata delivers a career-defining performance as a day-labourer and smalltime con-artist who, after killing two of his co-workers, embarks on a psychopathic spree of rape and murder. Eluding the police and public, Japan's infamous "King of Criminals" passes himself off as a Kyoto University professor, only to become entangled with an innkeeper and her perverted mother....Five years in the making, Vengeance Is Mine transcends the limitations of run-of-the-mill criminal studies by presenting a portrait of a killer imbued with a poignant, tragic banality.
From Shohei Imamura you have this tale based on true events of a murderous rampage. Even today killers in Japan seem able to blend into the landscape and avoid detection for long periods.
Here we see the upbringing of the killer, what sparks his lethal rage and the consequences of his spree. The ending is also masterful.
I really enjoyed the structure of the film and the snapshot of Japan during this period. Ken Ogata leads a series of fine performances here, yet he remains the true star. This is a must see whether you are a fan of Japanese cinema or not.