Set in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Kuso is a grotesque reflection of contemporary society, told by its depraved, deformed and drug-addled survivors. With Flying Lotus in the director’s chair and surrealists like David Firth behind the writing desk, it’s an enigmatic, extreme puzzle box of abstract scenes which frighten and fascinate in equal measures, much like Jacob’s Ladder, Taxidermia and Mulholland Drive. Its narcotic, nauseating blend of distorted sound and disturbing scenery, though, make it truly unique.
From the opening hootenanny to the powerful, post-credit soliloquy, the director, musically talented cast and electronically charged trip-hop soundtrack provide poetic dialogue and a rhythmic pace which help ensure that the plot never descends into incoherent experimentation. The metamorphic body horror, explicit imagery and satirical, Paul Verhoeven style infomercials, equally, ensure that it never feels like a musical. Occasionally, the introverted eloquence of the long shots and storyline’s lost souls is reminiscent of David Lynch; too often, however, the content appears contrived, much like shock artists like director Tom Six (The Human Centipede trilogy) and author Chuck Palahniuk (Haunted and Snuff).
Kuso, still, has the potential to become an instant cult classic, both for its low-budget bluster and bleak, cryptic metaphors. It’s a 90-minute assault on the senses which begs repeated viewing, as long as you can excuse the disjointed narrative and embrace its gratuitous, taboo-breaking gore.
21 Jul 2017