Written and Directed by Kei Fujiwara
Starring Kei Fujiwara, Kimihiko Hasegawa, Yosiaki Maekawa, and Kenji Nasa
I like being surprised by movies, and sometimes the most effective surprises come after completely breaking down my faith in the filmmakers. Videodrome, Brand Upon the Brain, Holy Mountain — these are a few of the movies that have challenged me to alter how I approach a narrative. It’s thanks to those that I was able to even follow Organ, let alone enjoy it.
There’s a lot going on in Organ, and it takes a little while for all of it to settle out into reasonable plot threads. As the catalyst, you have a raid on an organ-harvesting operation that goes wrong. One officer escapes, while his partner is captured by the Yoko (Kei Fujiwara) and Saeki, siblings who run the illegal enterprise. Where a conventional narrative might focus on the officer Numata as he seeks to redeem himself for slipping safely away, his story is just one of several that spring from the raid. Much of the plot follows Saeki, as he tortures the captured detective and preys in the student’s of a girls’ school. The brother of the missing officer also joins the pursuit, and the long-lost father of the criminals decides to correct his past mistakes.
The result is a lot of confusion for the viewer. Focus shifts rapidly between characters and plots, and it can take a while to sort out who everyone is and how they fit into the various stories. This is compounded by the uncertainty over whether Saeki is subject to hallucinations. Sometimes he has green slime on his abdomen, so I thought at first that he was imagining it, but maybe he really is turning into troll food.
I have a theory that Saeki’s experimental drug may have something to do with regeneration. The nature of his work is never mentioned, but his test subject is missing limbs, and he himself was castrated by his own mother like a grinning Laplander nutting a reindeer. Growing lost parts seems like a rational goal, but since he’s a mad scientist his motive could really be anything.
What I’m saying is that if you like explanations this might be a good one to skip. If instead you enjoy letting the crazy wash over you, it certainly has it’s charms. There are vicious fights, bizarre turnouts, multiple revenge plots, obligatory yakuza, and more green goo than you can shake a stick at. Best of all, if you don’t get what’s happening, it’s hard to see it coming.