MPD Psycho – Vol. 1

3 out of 5

Director: Takashi Miike

This is a tough one. MPD Psycho is absolutely a TV show – whether it was always intended as a mini-series or not I cannot say, but watching the first two episodes you can feel the Miike attempt at working with setting up potential plot lines and introducing characters for a weekly format. The Miike attempt, that is to say, is avoidance of straight-forward plotting, generally starting from disparate points before allowing pieces to be put together. While this has worked to brilliant effect in his films, split up into segments as such with MPD Psycho makes it, admittedly, difficult to commit to. It doesnt help that the plot is already strange: that theres a killer who is maybe a reincarnated American singer and whose MO is to implant phones in the gutted bellies of pregnant women and who can move from person to person via a phone, and maybe this killer caused a detective to have a personality split and thus we have our MPD tracking our psycho. But thats only loosely whats going on here. Much can be said about the very, very digital look of things and unhidden layered goofy effects, but as Tom Mes (wise as always in all things Miike) pointed out in a review, these elements have the intended effect of making the weirdness oddly digestible. Also, then, you have the censoring of some violence, something that curious Miike-hunters might decry. But Miike plays with this as well, blurring some things that dont seem to need to be blurred… wrapped up in this are meta references to the comic on which the show is based. So MPD Psycho isnt exactly riveting – its a curiosity, a strange blend of tactics – but a very clear indication of the artistic strength of its director and a good extreme showing of the differences in American and foreign tastes.

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