If you’re interested in watching a movie that makes you feel uncomfortable, gives you vivid dreams, and makes you feel sick to the stomach at humanity in general, then this movie is right up your alley.
Released in 2008 by a Russian filmmaker Andrey Iskanov, this half documentary, half movie, focuses on Unit 731, the biological warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army, and all the atrocities committed there.
The film is shot in black and white, with the interviews in colour. At four and a half hours, it’s a long movie. Especially because for three and a half of those hours, you’re subjected to some of the most violent pieces of filmmaking you may ever see. Owing to Unit 731’s clandestine nature there is little historical evidence or archival footage available, so a lot of the experiments were reenacted in painstaking detail.
Like a lot of gore movies (Saw, Hostel, etc.) POAK features a lot of scenes that make you uncomfortable, sickened, scared even. But unlike any other gore movie, what you see in POAK actually happened. No exaggeration. No Hollywood storytelling or magic. The movie receives the black and white colours, the old-school filter effect, and it becomes impossible to discern what’s archive footage and what was made in a studio.
Philosophy of a Knife is known for its exceedingly high levels of gore, if you’ve got a weak stomach this one definitely isn’t for you. I watched this film for its historical purposes. Unit 731 was just as notorious as the Nazi medical experiments, and all the pain and despair associated with the place goes unacknowledged. To this day, the Japanese Government still deny the operations that occured at Unit 731.
I’ve given you a description and my thoughts, now it’s up to you to fight the curiosity and watch this monstrous film for yourself.
Read more about Unit 731 on Wikipedia.
Read more about Philosophy of a Knife.