Three...Extremes

Film

Time Out says


BLEEDING ART Lim Won-hie of "Cut" makes alterations.

Why the hint of uncertainty with that title, fellas? Extremes are definitely what we get in this largely enjoyable omnibus project, along with a tasty side dish of three Asian directors finding their respective authorial strengths in the horror short form.

The first segment, by Hong Kong's mischievous Fruit Chan (his last comedy went by the title Public Toilet), sets the bar at a lurid, E.C. Comics--like high. "Dumplings," as you might guess, concerns the evil that lurks inside tasty pan-fried treats, ones that appear to firm the sagging skin of a vain former actress (Yeung). Filled with lushly lensed interiors (by Wong Kar-wai's ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle) and truly disgusting chewing noises, Chan's short is a groan-worthy hoot.

Better still is Park Chan-wook's slickly made "Cut," which manages to both condense the Korean director's stylish gruesomeness into a tighter package and somehow redeem it: The thin characters of Park's recent Oldboy may have just felt like puppets, but here, an unfortunate soul is actually strung up like one, using piano wire.

Finally, Japan's Takashi Miike returns to the amazing technical control he displayed in Audition (and nothing else since). While his moody, elliptical story, "Box"—about a pair of circus-performing twins and other freakish folk—leaves something to be desired in the coherence department, the director's chilly, almost Matthew Barney--ish visual experimentation is a potent reminder of his gifts.—Joshua Rothkopf

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