From Hell Pond – Vengeance is Mine


For Keyframe, I wrote about Shohei Imamura’s Vengeance is Mine (1979).

“Though ostensibly a serial-killer film, the focus here isn’t entirely on the criminal protagonist, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata), whose killing spree is the basis of the story. Vengeance is Mine is no slasher film; it uses no shadowplay or tension to thrill and shock. Imamura shows us only three killings: messy, unsettling, and shot without sensationalism. Not fifteen minutes into the film, Enokizu is seen buying the knife with which he will kill his second victim; he decides not on the sharpest or largest glinting blade, but on “the cheaper one.” The film, too, reflects a moral poverty.”

To read the full essay, visit


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