An ordinary man with an ordinary life joins a mysterious club. The membership lasts for one year only and there is one rule: no cancellation under any circumstance. The man enters into a whole new exciting world he never before experienced where crazy love goes wilder and crazier. Is it an illusion or is it real? This movie is well done considering the topic. It is not gratuitously violent, nor does it have explicit sexual content. To be honest with you I found myself laughing very hard. So if you want to find yourself laughing, but not knowing why and to be confused, conflicted etc., this is a good movie for that.
The rules are simple—no touching, no violence, no initiating contact, and no canceling your subscription—as a slew of dominatrices known as “Queens” become tasked with surprising him in public to whip/punch/kick him into submission until an erotic release visually manifested as blackened eyes and an ethereally rippling aura erupts. Matsumoto’s whole deal is randomness, so it’s pointless to complain that R100 is just a random collection of farcical notions. What really ticked me off was the movie’s framing device, which seems designed to absolve the filmmaker of any responsibility for his movie’s incoherence. This bizarre tale of a man exploring his sexual fantasies, while trying to maintain a socially acceptable lifestyle is one of the most hilarious, off-putting, ridiculous comedies I’ve ever seen. Just when you think director Matsumoto can’t go any further, he shocks you.
R100 is pure comedic B-movie. But with its endearing makings, please don’t be confused by its message. Oddly enough, and whether it was intentional or not, the film brought up an important topic — people who practice sadism and masochism aren’t taken seriously most of the time when they report sex crimes to the police. Because many do not understand the pleasure in receiving and implementing harm on others, they dismiss any cry for help as a strange person getting more than he or she bargained for, and rightly so. It’s an unfortunate truth, that should be recognized. As hilarious as it is disturbing, Matsumoto doesn’t stop at the lunacy of Takafuni’s ill-advised recreational proclivities. He also goes meta on us by positioning a group of film producers into cut scenes with commentary about R100‘s plot holes and outlandish choices as they watch what we’re watching inside the movie.
The film as we see it is actually the rough cut of a film that is being introduced to a group of producers by a one hundred year old director. Throughout the film, the producers meet outside the theater to discuss what they’ve seen so far with increasing doubt. To give anymore detail would be to ruin the unique experience of diving into this crazed director’s exercise in pushing the envelope. A cinematic interpretation of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” filtered through the sexual taboo of Japan—watching bystanders divert their eyes and mind their own business while Takafuni gets his butt kicked is a highlight—R100 will entertain and perplex. Don’t go wasting your time trying to decipher what the overarching message is, though, because you only have to watch the end credits tag to see how your critical doubles inside the film can’t find one either. Just enjoy the escalating departure from reality as Ohmori eclipses masochistic pleasure towards a desire for sadistic fun. When it comes to finding a joke, Matsumoto proves that successful comedians have no limits.