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Helter Skelter



  • Score: 7.7 (scored by 1,067 users)
  • Ranked: #1164
  • Popularity: #1054
  • Members: 2,263
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23 people found this review helpful
Jun 4, 2013
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This is a film about the exposition of vanity and the price people pay for fame, and this theme carries the story through all of it's tragic intensities. No, this isn't your run of the mill cutsie story, but it is a mature, edgy, dark piece of art. I love how visually spectacular every scene is. You can tell they put a ton of effort into every set. I can't get over how aesthetically pleasing the film is. And Erika's acting was exceptional! Most of us know how amazing she was in 1 Liter of Tears, and she is no less amazing here even though the roles are worlds apart. In 1 Liter of Tears she played a sweet, strong, optimistic girl battling a terminal disease. In Helter Skelter she plays an adored celebrity who behind the scenes is lost in a very dark place. And let me say one thing, tortured people torture people. This film shows the extreme end of overdose on the drug called fame. One reason why I've never envied celebrities too much. And I should warn you that this film is for mature audiences only. Seriously, be prepared for some mature scenes. But all in all, it's a 10! I loved it! There's a lot that can be learned from this film.

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13 people found this review helpful
Mar 9, 2013
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
I actually have tumblr to thank for my discovery of this movie. Before I watched it, I read many reviews and many say that Erika (Lillico) lacks depth of character and are critical of her performance. I however, really loved Erika's acting and I think her portrayal seems so genuine and real that I found no difficulty sympathizing with the character Lillico. Apart from Erika, I was really impressed with the whole cast and I might add that I was especially happy that Go Ayano was in this film. ><

The movie also deals with fame and power and looks at the influences of drugs, sex and cosmetic procedures. The themes this movie deals with are highly controversial and I believe that is why many people don't enjoy this film. Before I get too far into the review, it is really important to note that there are a significant amount of sex scenes in this movie. Seriously do not watch it if you are not mature enough to appreciate their importance to the plot development.

The music is such a great indicator in Helter Skelter. If something bad is going to happen, you can tell by the music. There is only one piece of music I thought was inappropriately placed but I won't mention anything as it will spoil the movie.

I've watched it twice so far and the only reason it hasn't been more is because I have other commitments. I can honestly not fault any aspect of this movie. Maybe you might have a different opinion to me but you'll never know if you don't give it a chance.

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5 people found this review helpful
May 30, 2014
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This film alone made Sawajiri Erika one of my favorite actors of all time. She was marvelous!
On the surface this movie is a story of a girl who gets eaten up by her own vapid/shallow desires. If you're willing to take a deeper look it's a comment about society. The film-makers and actors have crafted a masterpiece of a psychological thriller that explores the darkness of a world where the lights are always on but, no one is really home. The world of Helter Skelter is a place where everyone is a villain and yet everyone is a victim.

A word to the wise this is not for people with delicate sensibilities.

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6 people found this review helpful
Mar 1, 2013
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
I was a bit hesitant about writing this review but as soon as I saw that so far there is only one review present and I have completely different thoughts about this movie I decided to give it a shot.

I discovered this movie after watching "Himizu" and checking out the cast. In this movie two actors from the later one are present. They do not have main, but still have important and memorable roles. Plus when I found out that Erika Sawajima is the lead here it was decided: I am watching this movie no matter what kind of reactions/reviews it has.
And right away I must say that the entire cast and their acting was awesome. This is one daring and controversial movie and you have to have guts to agree to star in it plus to carry out such roles.

Firstly, here is what the story is about:
It tells a story of a young model/star/idol called Lilly who underwent a full-body plastic surgery to become that what she is now. As her manager says "All that's hers are her eyeballs, her ears, her fingernails and her pussy". But even while being considered one of the most beautiful women in Japan she just never feels happy. She is feeling empty inside and is trying to fill it up in various ways. Having sex whenever she gets excited or frustrated or when it is needed to get her career moving is one of them.
Eventually she starts falling apart. And is dragging everyone around her down with her.

But what's so controversial/shocking about it?
*This movie has quite a lot of rather open sex scenes. They are not to the level of porn, but still might be shocking if you do not expect them. (Though it's nothing more open from that what you'd get when turning TV on after 10PM. I think it would be rated R14 in my country)
*Also you are seeing a downfall of a young star and downfalls are never beautiful, plus this one is a rather extreme one. Though in the end it becomes beautiful. (If I say anything else about it I'll spoil way too much for you guys)
*And there are a few grotesque episodes. A very strong one at the end. It might give you creeps, chills and some other unpleasant feelings but at the same time it will be very beautiful and fascinating. (that is exactly how I understand the word "grotesque" so I guess it fits this situation the best)

As for the cinematography, I'd give it the highest rating possible. The surroundings, the angles, the lighting, the transitions from one shot to another were brilliantly done. It just blew my mind.

And as for the music: it was perfect. Simply perfect. In some places it was very minimal but in others the drum sounds beat in sync with every movement Lilly makes and it gives a wonderful sensation of tension that maybe could even be called horror at some parts.
And the rock genre song at the very end was like a ripe strawberry on top of a perfectly made cupcake.

I think I will be watching this again and I will definitely be showing it to my friends. Also I think that every person that wants to enter the entertainment industry should watch it, just to see what sometimes might happen.

Overall I'm giving this a 10/10

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8 people found this review helpful
Mar 18, 2013
Overall 5.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
I decided to watch this movie based on all the glowing reviews. I was disappointed. To me this turned out to be one hot mess. Simply put, the movie was not very well made, in my opinion.

Movies are like card houses. All pieces must fit perfectly together for the house to stand: story, performance, production values. Take away one or the other and the house falls down.

This is pretty much what happened in Helter Skelter.

What started off as an interesting premise for a movie -- namely a character study of a lost and broken young woman's longing for human connection -- meandered off into bizarre twists and turns that could have been cut to make the movie more effective.

Many people think this movie is about the protagonist's addiction to plastic surgery, but to me the PS is just the effect, not the cause of her downward spiral. If you factor out plastic surgery this girl is battling some pretty serious personal issues stemming from her childhood and the potent influence of a callous, almost sadistic mentor. But while the plot may have been dubious at least there was some story there, so check.

What about performance? Well, it felt very stilted to me, as if the actors rehearsed the scenes to death, one too many times. For a movie so dark and edgy to have any impact at all on it's audience the acting has to come from an organic, natural place. In my opinion, that didn't happen in Helter Skelter.

With all that said, though, the thing that bothered me the most was the production values on this film, or rather ... the lack thereof. I didn't believe the story being told to me. The direction lacked vision and purpose. The production design and cinematography were tacky and amateurish. I mean animated, fairy butterflies in a world of darkness and deprivation? Come on. Moreover, where was the glamour of Lilico's world? After all, she's a major superstar, isn't she? Japan's own Cameron Diaz. We should have been totally immersed in her glamourous existence by the movie's tone and mood so that we, the audience, can better appreciate the toll fame and fortune has had on Lilico's psyche. Instead what you got were set designs akin to a tacky porno movie rather than a bird's eye view into the lifestyle of Japan's rich and famous.

After spending 2 hrs watching this film I came away from it thinking what the hell had I just watched? And not in the good sense. I doubt I'll be seeing this again, ever.

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4 people found this review helpful
Feb 18, 2013
Overall 4.0
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
I have to say... I was mortified by this film.
Although kudos to their acting as it must have been challenging for all of them in different ways and must've taken balls to do a film like this. It really was close to the line labelled 'porn' when it came to the sex scenes *shivers* I was horrified sometimes at just intimate it was (I don't like watching stuff with intimate stuff in. I hate PDAs if that gives you a hint as to how much I hate seeing such things in front of me and on screen haha)
This film is just MESSED up - I spent most of the film with a 'what the fudge' face and that phrase coming outta my mouth because sometimes the things that happen are just seriously shocking and ridiculous! The main plot of the story is crappy like EVERYONE knows a career (especially in Entertainment) is limited so why make a 2 HOUR (yes over 2 HOURS) film about it. Just... no.
I have to say the ending was probably the strongest part of this film and the most interesting part too.

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0 people found this review helpful
Nov 24, 2016
Overall 6.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
I may be the most clueless moviegoer out there, but I swear that when I got the new Sawajiri Erika movie HELTER SKELTER, it was solely because I’d read that the movie starred her as a supermodel/actress/celebrity and figured I’d get to see Erika in some Pretty n Sexy outfits looking Hot as Hell…well, I got that, and MORE, as anyone who’s even briefly perused the reviews knows, never mind the pretty outfits-this is the movie where Erika went ALL OUT, burning a path of hotness that dubbed everything she’s done before as “tame’!

From the get go we see Erika duked out in the most salacious of outfits a la red garters and panties, and even as I was marveling at the sight, thinking she’d really upped the notch of sexiness, she was moving on to the next big “Heart Attack” moment for me, and the depravity didn’t stop there! By the time the movie had gone about halfway into the story, I has seen Erika in just about every imaginable sexy scenario, leaving me with an open mouth and glazed look on my face, thinking, “This girl sure knows how to generate a COMEBACK MOVIE!”

Like I said, I initially checked out this movie to see Erika as a model wearing model-type outfits, and I am happy to say that in that, they wildly succeded- every scene is chock full of Erika in tight flowery bikinis, lacy lingerie, svelte suits and sultry dresses. I was in screencapping heaven!

Sadly, as the movie’s story progressed, Helter Skelter began to be less a tale of the scary world of plastic surgery and more into a decidedly “sci-fi” genre flick (no “regular” plastic surgery here, there operations are executed with strange Orwellian methods with side effects that ring more Horror than Drama!) and by the time the backwards-walking midgets came out (for reals, yo.) I knew this movie had turned into a David Lynchian Psychedelic Trip and from there, my interest dwindled…

Too bad, the first half of the movie seemed to be grounded in a very realistic backdrop and I thought it was going to be a human drama study about the pressures celebrities have and the lengths they go through to stay in the public eye (I guess that is the message, in a twisted way), having Helter Skelter turn into another arthouse-y project just left me disappointed, and Sexy Sawajiri Erika aside, can’t say this show has much more that I’d go back for. Though I WILL be back for said Sexy Sawajiri Erika, you can best bet THAT!

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