Adapted from a novel by Choukitsu Kurumatani, this is remarkably similar to the many recent adaptations from manga by Yoshiharu Tsuge (Nowhere Man is typical). As always in these things, the protagonist is a blocked writer. Ikushima (first-timer Onishi) arrives in Amagasaki to be confronted by an ominous quote from Dante and a job threading raw meat on to skewers. He lodges in a seedy apartment where his neighbours include the enigmatic tattoo master Mayu (Uchida), his angelic mistress Aya (Terajima) and a gaggle of hookers. Drawn into sex with Aya and increasingly feeling that he's acting in someone else's drama, Ikushima agrees to accompany her to the famous 48 waterfalls at Akame, expecting to commit double suicide there. The last several reels get bogged down in entirely predictable illusions, delusions and paradoxes, so it's hard to believe that the film has any special insight into anything; you wonder why Arato (better known as Seijun Suzuki's latter-day producer) found the material compelling enough to warrant a 159-minute movie. But thanks to fine design and 'Scope framing, it looks great.