Ai is a bashful college girl struggling with questionable relationship and career choices. Y’see, Ai is a fetish prostitute. This movie—which I should probably mention now is only *just* shy of being porn—is really super dark and weird. It’s an eerie, bleak story of desperation, unrequited love, drug abuse, and crazy piss-drinking BDSM sex stuff. Tokyo Decadence is a grim masterpiece of the Pink film era. It’s a reaaaaallly explicit exploration of sexuality, gender, depravity, love and death. It’s brilliant but it’s also total filth and not at all for the faint of heart.
Director: Ryu Murakami
Actors: Miho Nikaido, Sayoko Amano, Masahiko Shimada
Year of Release: 1992
Let met get this out of the way: Tokyo Decadence is a great movie by most standards. Visually as dark and surreal as its subject matter, it’s shot and directed in a style extremely reminiscent of David Lynch – and particularly of Blue Velvet. In fact it kinda seems like director Ryu Murakami watched that one scene in Blue Velvet and said, “What if this, but a whole movie?”
Seriously: the majority of the runtime is dominated by four long, detailed, in-depth BDSM scenes, so if that’s not your style then you’re probably gonna hate this. But if you’re into that kind of thing—and, I mean it’s 2017, get with the program—this is loaded with great stuff. Tokyo Decadence displays the crass depravity of ’80s and ’90s Japan with such an obsessive meticulousness that it’s actually pretty creepy.
Our heroine’s clients have a huge variety of demands, some of which are just totally fucked up – it’s a long list but it includes light asphyxiation, total asphyxiation, simulated torture, simulated murder, actual torture, rape and necrophilia. Gender roles are explored, reversed, and then explored again. Drugs are casually abused. Strange, unique personal fetishes are indulged and examined at length.
And Tokyo Decadence doesn’t pull any of those punches. Ryu Murakami—who also wrote the novel it’s based on—has no chill at all. A guy climaxes so hard that he apparently dies. There’s a lot of piss. Absolutely everyone in this world has a dark or crazy vice, whether they live in some low-rent single apartment or a swanky uptown penthouse.
Oh, also, speaking of Lynch – a real “eye of the duck” moment comes in the psychedelic final act. After tag teaming a dude with (and then scoring hella drugs from) a high-end dominatrix, Ai sets off in search of her erstwhile lover… which goes about as well as you’d expect it to, being that she’s high as shit and all. After a delirious flight from the cops, Tokyo Decadence leaves its poor lead girl tripping her ass off in a park with, like, a ghost and a bunch of clowns or something.
Well, as far as out-and-out legit violence there’s not much. There are some horrifying glimpses into an even darker world of really violent, messed-up shit but most of what happens is the “consenting adults” sort of violence. People get whipped and strangled but it plays out to a chorus of moans and squeals and it’s all paid for in advance. Tokyo Decadence isn’t rated R for the bloodshed, is what I’m saying.
I mean… it’s literally about crazy sex. This one’s for mommy and daddy after the kids go to bed. It’s difficult to give a rundown of every single one of the huge diversity of explicit acts performed. There is no on-screen penetration, and the plentiful nudity is kept tasteful. To my knowledge most or all of the sex is simulated but that’s as much as can be said for its self-censorship.
There’s no male nudity, but there’s a part where a guy smokes crack and pees himself.
- Posters for Tokyo Decadence can be seen in Fallout 2, scattered around New Reno.
- There are at least two versions of Tokyo Decadence floating around online, one censored and one not.
- The author/director of Tokyo Decadence (Ryu Murakami) also wrote the novel Takashi Miike’s
Audition is adapted from.