Chaos | Chicago Reader

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Elaborately and cleverly crafted, this 1999 brainteaser from Japanese pulp director Hideo Nakata (Ring) begins with a wealthy businessman discovering that his wife (ex-model Miki Nakatani) has been abducted, but then the narrative shifts to the handyman demanding ransom (Masato Hagiwara), who's having a sadomasochistic affair with the wife. The film's plot twists are highly reminiscent of Vertigo, and at least two scenes pay explicit homage to the Hitchcock film. Nakata expertly handles the constant doubling back in time that turns prey into predator, and the film has a creepily cool and antiseptic look. Ultimately, however, the characters become pawns in a cinematic chess game, and while their motivations eventually become clear, their emotions are indecipherable. In Japanese with subtitles. 105 min.

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