Tuesday, July 10, 2007

DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS - WORTHLESS TO CONFESS Movie Review

DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS:
WORTHLESS TO CONFESS (1971)


When Rika is finally released from reform school, she tracks down Midori's home to visit the girl she shared a room with. She learns that Midori and her father are on the outs, and Midori's father offers Rika a room and a job. Rika gladly accepts, as she has nowhere else to go in Shinjuku. Rika soon learns that Midori's boyfriend is using his control over her to pay off his gambling debts using her father's money. Rika also discovers the rest of her "street sisters" are trying to scrape by with whatever jobs they can find - and in Shinjuku that means working in hostess bars as paid dates for male clients. The local yakuza are also after the garage that Rika now works in, and when they turn to treachery that can no longer be tolerated, Rika and her gang once again reunite for a midnight strike of vengeance!

In the late sixties and early seventies, Japan's main production studios began pushing the limits of acceptable cinema and filled the screens with tales of the yakuza, period samurai films, and what became known as "pinky violence", an exploitative blend of softcore sex and sensational violence which often employed girl gangs and women in prison as the main protagonist. These film often featured a dizzy array of lowbrow comedy, gratuitous nudity, over-the-top bloodshed, morals, and redemptions, cutting back and forth in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style that would pogo from one extreme to the other. The soundtracks frequently featured hyper-jazzy pop songs with opening and closing soulful ballads that would reflect on the themes of the movie. These were usually sang by the main actor or actress of the movie.

Now, WORTHLESS TO CONFESS, the fourth and final film in the DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS series (don't worry, they're by sequels by theme and for marketing, and do not need to be seen in order) is one of the more lighthearted in the pinky violence sub-genre. It is an good stepping stone to reach some of the more mean spirited and extreme films in the genre and get a taste for the themes that are prevalent throughout many of the movies. The film is slightly comic book-esque in its style, and many of the scenes are played for their comedic nature. The main themes deal with trying to find a home and being accepted, and the heartbreaking reality that whenever something good happens or happiness is found, something much worse is going to happen. The screen is filled with the archetypes that are often found in these films - from the main girl gangs that find unity in their orphan status to dimwits for comedy relief, reformed yakuza who are the most dangerous of all to sly and cowardly bosses who trick others to do the dirty work.



What WORTHLESS TO CONFESS lacks that many others pinky violence films have an abundance of is action scenes. Instead, the first seventy-five minutes are filled with a multitude of subplots and exposition scenes that hurtle the film to its violent crescendo of a finale. The finale here is worth the admission alone, and while the lead up is worth paying attention to, it is the ending that will stay in your mind. Here, Rika and her four gang members dress in matching orange red dusters and walk side by side through the neon filled alleyways to the yakuza club, with a Japanese-influence western instrumental playing beneath. It is a incredible build-up that leads you to believe that the yakuza don't stand a chance. Once the battle begins, in which everyone fights with swords on the main dance floor of the club amidst a florescent colored decour, anything goes. Director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi unleashes himself from the film's earlier restraint as he lets the blood spray, the camera go frantic, and a quick yet highly-imaginative shot of the boss's demise which is worthy of Seijun Suzuki.

For a taste of cinema that has not quite found the grasp it should have on fans of seventies crime action and exploitation, WORTHLESS TO CONFESS is an appetizer before the main course. While it does have a few "uncomfortable" moments that are par for course in the genre, the film never stoops to depraved gratuitousness found in many of the others. Recently a host of pinky violence flicks have found their way to domestic DVD releases making this previously hard to access genre much easier to find. Why not take a chance?

The following additional titles should be within easy rental or purchasing grasp, and are the "main course" with the full-blown exploitation for those that enjoy the likes of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, or the period revenge film LADY SNOWBLOOD:

Girl Boss Guerilla
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom
Criminal Woman: Killing Melody
Sex and Fury (Christina Lindberg, of THRILLER, has vicious co-starring role)
Female Yakuza Tale (sequel to Sex and Fury)
Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41

1 comments:

Celia said...
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