Toshiaki Toyoda is back. The renegade director returns with a film that tackles the current epidemic, though not without some broader stabs at humankind's greed and egocentricity. While there is a rough narrative, The Day of Destruction is a mood piece first and foremost, hammering home its message. This is the Toyoda I love.
Monsters Club is my favorite Toyoda so far. The film is a beauty, the atmosphere is tangible and the imagery unique.
The good stuff
I still need to see Hanging Garden and Unchain, that said I believe Blood of Rebirth belongs to Toyoda's best output to date and could be the start of something beautiful.
Blue Spring was the break-through film for Toyoda and Matsuda. This high school punk drama is quite particular to Japan and might come off a little strange at first, but the mix of violence and drama is actually quite poetic and moving. Well acted, superbly directed and to the point, this is definitely a film for the history books.
I'm Flash isn't going to become one of Toyoda's best loved films, but it surely is a great experience that is unique to the skills of the director.
Toyoda made an impeccable sequel to Miike's first two films.
An impressive road trip that combines strong crime elements with light comedy and drama. Toyoda's hand is ever present, the cast does an amazing job, the score is on point and there are plenty of memorable bits. Within Toyoda's oeuvre it may not be a stand-out, then again he's directed so many superb films it's hardly a point of critique. An underappreciated gem.
Toyoda gets a little weird. He strips virtually all narrative elements and delivers a visual album/album film based on the unique collaboration between Koshiro Hino and the Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble. Hauntingly rhythmic music combined with fitting visuals make for a riveting experience, but this isn't going to be for everyone.