Throw Back Thursday review of “Lesson of the Evil”
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Oh Takashi Miike…. How you never fail to surprise. I am pretty sure…. No strike that…. ABSOLUTELY sure that Mr. Miike is the most out there director working today. I mean he went from “Ichi the Killer” to “13 Assassins” in just a few short years. He has done everything from comedy, to musical, to horror, to completely uncategorizable (I’m looking at you “Yakuza Apocalypse”). I try to watch all of the films he puts out, but since he usually does somewhere around three per year it is a little difficult. One that slipped through the cracks for me was “Lesson of the Evil”, which I recently purchased and could not wait to watch and review.
In “Lesson”, a dashing young high school teacher, Hasumi (Itô), is the perfect role model for his teenage students. He is intelligent, clean cut, and treats his students with kindness and care. Once he has discovered that some of his students are cheating by using their cell phones during exams. In a faculty meeting, he comes up with the idea of jamming cell phone signals and is the hero of the teacher staff. Cheating isn’t the only wrongdoing going on though. Sexual harassment, bullying, and underage drinking all tarnish the student body that Hasumi cares for.
There is a darkness in Hasumi though which slowly begins to creep out, as strange and violent things begin happening around the school. By the time people start to see him for what he really is, it may be too late to stop some of his more psychotic tendencies. Is he the good teacher he seems to be or something completely different… and deadly?
Films like “Lesson of the Evil” are Miike’s bread and butter. Take an interesting premise, add high production value, and throw every rule and concept of normality out the window. Once you have done that, brace yourselves because things are about to get bloody! Wildly entertaining, as expected, “Lesson” is not one of his greatest achievements but it is certainly a strong showing for the prolific filmmaker. If you haven’t seen it (or ever heard of it which is more likely) you should check it out. You won’t regret one ultra-violent minute.