Philosophy of a Knife, (2008)

TLA Releasing & Unearthed Films

Four fucking hours 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 World War II. 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 with 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 to different situations faced by the Japanese soldiers in battle.

Looks so much like DIY trepanning from PI, 1998

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 neighboring Chinese provinces of Changde and Ningbo among others when they were infected with pneumonia and the bubonic plague through 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 thousands 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 installments, buying time and making friends. 

Now, back to the atrociously insipid film, or a low-grade but extremely graphic reenactment of the war-crimes, 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 vapid with nonsense 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. The archival footage used is the same, 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. Now that makes me shudder, the only thing that succeeds in doing so is not the film nor any part(s) from it, but an association and a thought outside of the saturation value of 0, mostly grey with luminosity cranked to a 100, leaving the relative hue bandwidth of film soft and a glowing overtone, emanating sickly visuals by dilating the pixels within their cathode ray tube. Let’s just say it gets agonizing to keep watching after a while, and not because of the violence on-screen, of which there are hints, unlike Men behind the Sun, 1988; a more direct, extremely hard to watch commentary on the Japanese atrocities in China, at Unit 731.   

Do not waste time or money or bandwidth, simply watch a more effective film on Unit 731, the aforementioned 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 to take care of that. 

Rubbish. A complete waste of time and tolerance level.

Philosophy of a knife is available to rent on Netflix (cut version) and a digital copy can be had by clicking here

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