Red Angel

"Very Good"

Red Angel Review


The horrors of war are very much on display in Red Angel, a gruesome battlefront drama from Japan that looks at the earliest months of World War II in Asia, when Japan invaded Manchuria and then tried to hold the line against superior forces.

Plunged into this maelstrom is Sakura Nishi (Ayako Wakao), a young nurse who is more than willing to do her duty for the motherland but who has no idea what she's in for. At her first stop, a fairly well-equipped hospital, she finds that many of the patients are soldiers are healthy but are managing to hang around rather than head back to the front. On her first night rounds, she's gang raped by several of them, but her complaints to the head nurse fall on deaf ears. After all, they're lonely men, she's a pretty woman. What did she expect?

But no sooner can she adjust to that rather harsh reality than she finds herself sent to the front and stationed at a nightmarish field hospital that does little more than perform amputations and put grievously wounded soldiers out of their misery. Dr. Okabe (Shinsuke Ashida), a kind man who is clearly traumatized by his blood-soaked battlefield work, wonders to Sakura if it wouldn't be better simply to let all the soldiers die rather than turn them into maimed cripples. Why? Because he knows the Army will never let them return to civilian life. They face a future of institutionalization where they'll be hidden away rather than inspire bad morale among the general populace. Sensing his compassion, Sakura falls for Dr. Okabe and they begin a clandestine affair.

One of the ward's most unfortunate patients is Pvt. Orihara (Yusuke Kawazu), who has lost both his arms. Lying in bed in complete frustration and knowing he has no future (he clearly expects never to see his wife again), he begs Sakura for all kinds of help, sexual and otherwise. She readily agrees, even taking him to a nearby town for a night in a shabby hotel. Can such a coupling be erotic? Surprisingly, yes. Their scenes of passion in the face of oblivion are particularly intense.

As the Chinese move closer and surround the field hospital, the film climaxes with a brutal every-man-for-himself battle that's as graphic and disturbing as anything that Stephen Spielberg or Clint Eastwood has ever dreamed up. Little will be left but buckets full of amputated arms and legs. What a sight. Red Angel is one of the more powerful anti-war films you'll ever see.

Aka Akai tenshi.



Red Angel

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 1st July 1971

Production compaines: Daiei Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Yasuzo Masumura

Producer: Ikuo Kubodera

Starring: as Nurse Sakura Nishi, Shinsuke Ashida as Dr. Okabe, as Pvt. Orihara, Ranko Akagi as Head Nurse Iwashima, Jotaro Senba as Private Sakamoto, Daihachi Kita as Pvt. Nogami, Jun Osanai as Special Duty Sergeant Major, Daigo Inoue as Advance Guard Company's Fifth Chief, Takashi Nakamura as Head of infantry, Ayako Ikegami as Nurse Tsurusaki

Also starring:

Contactmusic


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