Philosophy of a Knife

Men Behind the Sun is one of the most notorious exploitation films of all time. It dealt with Unit 731, a top-secret research facility where thousands of innocent people (men, women and children) were brutally killed in the sullied name of science during WWII. I won't get into a history lesson, but if you're ever bored, look up Unit 731 on the web. It's a fascinating, if not disturbing read. Horror buffs consider Men Behind the Sun to be a sickening endurance test, a promontory for the deranged, a landmark in shock cinema. But what does it have to do with Philosophy of a Knife?

Philosophy is a very similar film. The subject matter is the same, the concept is the same, and the target audience is the same. The only difference is that Philosophy is more gruesome. Oh, and it's over four hours long. No, that wasn't a typographical error. This flick delivers four hours of some of the most wicked, depraved violence ever captured in front of a camera. It's so gory, that it's mind-boggling. We see a graphic vivisection, a child exploding in a decompression chamber, a cockroach being forced inside of a woman's vagina, frostbitten skin falling off of bone and other various atrocities.

If that's not crazy enough for you, listen to this...I like this movie! It's a work of art. The jumpy editing, the warm B&W cinematography, and the clever inclusion of archival footage (I love the way that director Andrey Iskanov weaves it into the torture sequences) nudge Philosophy ahead of its competition. As a documentary, it's informative and educational. As a stylish genre film, it's fucking intense. Is it tough to watch? Yeah, but that's the whole point. I don't understand why it was made, though. It doesn't do anything that Men Behind the Sun didn't do. As a matter of fact, it's virtually a remake.

If you're going to sit down with Philosophy of a Knife, view it in two parts. Clearly, it's long-winded. The last 30 minutes are exceedingly dull. Couldn't they find more people to interview? This might have been more effective as a work of fiction that was based on actual events, as opposed to a documentary spliced with re-enactments of the experiments conducted at Unit 731. Still, I recommend this film to extreme gorehounds. It definitely lives up to the hype. I doubt that I'll be seeing it on The History Channel anytime soon.

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