Philosophy of a Knife, 2008
249 minutes long and twice as boring.
Unit 731, also known as the Water Logging Facility was a provision structure built by the Japanese in the Chinese province of Manchuria, towards the beginning of the WWII. Under the unilateral command of the arrogant General Shirō Ishii, with The Monarch privy to the brutalities being carried out at the facility by top Japanese scientists to win the bio-weapon race against Germany.
Unit 731 used the Chinese, the Russians and the Allied POWs as lab rats; making them endure, and withstand the most vicious torture techniques invented by the mad scientists, to test the threshold of the human body being exposed to different situations/weather conditions/diseases experienced by the Japanese soldiers in battle.
Techniques that left an estimated 15,000 Chinese civilians, soldiers Allied POWs not only dead but mutilated, frost-bitten, disfigured; men, women and children subjected to the most harrowing mutilation. This was in addition to the 400,000 dead during the invasion of Nanking. Plus an additional 300,000 deaths in the neighbouring Chinese provinces of Changde and Ningbo among others when they were infected with pneumonia and the bubonic plague through aerial flea spraying attacks carried out by low flying airplanes and mixing bacteria into the main water supply. Plus, when defeat was imminent, the Japanese soldiers distributed cyanide laced candy to the starved children.
The atrocities/research/experiments went on to produce thousand of documents and research papers, taken from Unit 731, by the doctors as they fled China in 1945. General Shirō Ishii, much like Joseph Mengele (Doctor Death) of the SS, evaded capture by the war tribunal in exchange for the priceless research (human experimentation) undertaken by the Japanese.
Unlike Mengele, who spent the rest of his life hiding from the authorities and succeeded even with the Mossad, lead by Isser Harel himself, on his tail. In the end the US decided to give full immunity to the Japanese war criminals who were clever enough to disseminate the research to the US in instalments, buying time and making friends.
Now, back to the atrocious film, or a low-grade but extremely graphic reenactment of the war-crimes (as if in slo-mo since the film goes on forever; 4 hours, 15 minutes), which director Andrey Iskanov (Visions of Suffering, 2006) punctuates with unnecessary rhetoric through narration. His decision to focus on a single character (The Favourite Girl, played by the gaunt and hopeless Elena Romanova Probatova) depends mostly on her to drive the utterly gibberish plot. This decision makes the movie tedious and unbearably long with claptrap philosophy being fed to the viewer constantly between archival footage and interviews with the survivors; this adds to the distress in a strange and a non-effective manner. The viewer gets to watch some of the most barbaric sequences on film ever, with the gibberish commentary incessantly playing in the back. The archival footage used is the same (some scenes/stills are used more than once), available to all those interested in Unit 731 and with access to YouTube.
From dental experimentation to vivisection without anesthesia to administrating syphilis bacteria to its lab rats, Unit 731 was one of the worst outcomes of WWII. Just like this film; the worst from director Andrey Iskanov who has his roots in the field of medicine. Right.
Do not waste time or money or bandwith – simply watch a more effective film on Unit 731, ‘Men Behind the Sun, 1988 – if you can stomach the mega-futile visual sensory overload.
I’m not always this critical of a film but dude, Knife just tested my patience to the hilt and I already have the pre-orders to take care of that.
Rubbish. Utter rubbish.