United Red Army
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Shot in a raw verite style, United Red Army explores the political unrest of 1960s Japan, when mass student uprisings coincided with the beginnings of the far-left United Red Army group, which tortured and murdered its "deviant" members during a 1972 training session. Mr. Wakamatsu's harrowing film depicts the famed Asama-Sanso incident, which began when members of the United Red Army assassinated 14 of its own, during a group "self-criticism" session, and then broke into a holiday lodge below Mount Asama and took the wife of the lodge-keeper as a hostage. A standoff… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"If you're keeping tabs on the recent cinematic reconsideration of 1960s and '70s left-wing terrorism, Wakamatsu's devastating chronicle of the ultra-violent fringe of Japanese student radicalism is a must-see."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
"The film's commitment to representing the harsh truths of an unfortunate historical moment is admirable, but it tends to grate rather than illuminate."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"Kôji Wakamatsu's messy, punishing 2008 meta-docudrama about the cult-like sect of 1970s Japanese revolutionaries gets a long-overdue release."
‑ Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International
"Compelling tale of ultraleftism becoming nihilistic in Japan."
‑ Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Running more than three hours, "United Red Army" is a raw mix of documentary and fiction..."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Grueling [but] engrossing."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"Kôji Wakamatsu's achievement is to show us how that violence can turn as easily inward as it does out."
‑ Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
"The stilted and awkward physical and vocal performances in combination with the visually flat cinematography bring to mind the look, sound and visual texture of American daytime soaps, an association that perversely makes the movie more and more watchable."
‑ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"...historical drama as psychological thriller."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"Fusing together documentary footage and tense dramatization, Wakamatsu has produced the kind of heterogeneous cinematic object that doesn't usually get released in the U.S. unless it takes place in the Thai jungle."
‑ Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment Magazine
More reviews for United Red Army on Rotten Tomatoes