EIFF 2016: The Virgin Psychics (2015)
Shota Sometani plays Yoshiro, a young virgin who spends his evenings engaging in some frantic onanism while trying to visualise the girl he is destined to be with. This is a girl he spoke with before he was born. Womb to womb, so to speak, telephatically. Anyway, on the evening that begins this movie, Yoshiro is struck by something that gives him strange powers. And some others end up the same way. They all have two things in common. They are all virgins. And they were engaging in some self-exploration at the time. Yoshira is telepathic, as is Miyuki (Elaiza Ikeda), while others have abilities that include telekinesis, teleportation, precognition, and more. Will the group of new “superheroes” be able to put their powers to good use and save the Earth, or will they be distracted by a huge rise in sexiness that makes people wear less and less while making out more and more?
One of a number of 2015 films directed by Sion Sono (Let’s face it, he will probably release another movie by the time I finish this review), this appears to be based on a manga by Kiminori Wakasugi. Although I am unfamiliar with the source material, a quick look at the filmography of Sion Sono shows that he previously worked on a TV show either based on the same, or very similiar, material. So it’s obvious that he likes the content, although I have no idea how much they would have been allowed to show on TV.
It’s a shame that he can’t transfer that sense of fun to the viewer. After an opening sequence that wrings some laughs from teenage lust, overly amorous individuals, and the usual fantasy imagery of girls cavorting in skimpy clothing/underwear, Sono goes on to fill the whole movie with exactly the same images and jokes in EVERY. SINGLE. SCENE. Seriously, I never thought I could be so bored by gorgeous females wearing very little but it turns out that I can.
The humour doesn’t really translate well for Western audiences, the performances are all as over the top as you’d expect, and things keep veering between the childishly amusing and the downright uncomfortable. I was hoping for the best, I really was, but this just went from tolerable to bad to almost unbearable. At least I watched a version that had already been edited down by about 10 minutes. Thank heavens for small mercies.
The Virgin Psychics is showing at 1800 on 20th June in Odeon 2, and 2310 on 25th June in Filmhouse 1.
DIRECTOR: SION SONO
WRITER: MANGA BY KIMINORI WAKASUGI, ORIGINAL TELEPLAY BY SHINICHI TANAKA, SION SONO
STARS: SHOTA SOMETANI, ELAIZA IKEDA, ERINA MANO
RUNTIME: 114 MINS APPROX