''Gozu'' is probably the flat-out strangest, most [[MindScrew mind-bending]] movie from Creator/TakashiMiike; a Japanese auteur who has made built his repuations on movies which are some combination of [[RuleOfSymbolism bizarre symbolism]], BlackComedy, DarkerAndEdgier, and {{Gorn}}.

Starting ostensibly as yet another {{Yakuza}} movie, it takes a major turn into the surreal very soon into the story. Yakuza junior member Minami is ordered by the head of the gang to take his increasingly erratic and unstable senior member Ozaki out to a remote location, where he can be disposed of by an allied "cleaner". On the way, Ozaki dies mysteriously; and the story takes a turn for the [[SurrealHorror decidedly surreal]], when Ozaki's body disappears in a nearly-deserted, run-down suburb of Nagoya. Nothing appears to make much sense after that, either to the viewer or the protagonist. Minami endures a number of episodic, and confusing, adventures, and meets a cast of highly deranged characters -- including a middle-aged woman who bottles and sells her breast milk; a huge, minotaur-like being wearing baggy underwear; several crossdressers who run the town's cafe; an unreliable guide with an odd skin condition; and a beautiful, enigmatic woman who claims to be his brother Ozaki.

At first, the entire film seems to be just a collection of random weirdness. However, it actually makes sense with the knowledge that [[RuleOfSymbolism nearly all the characters and events]] which take place after the arrival in Nagoya are based on events and figures from Greek and Japanese mythology; and that the entire story represents Minami's sexual awakening, and his coming to terms with both his homosexuality and his love for Ozaki.

It was originally planned as a straightforward action movie intended for the DirecttoVideo market (the Original Video market, as is called in Japan, does not have the same stigma of poor quality attached to it as it does in many other countries), but it Miike found the screenplay was far too ambitious for the budget. Rather than turning down the project, Miike decided to run with it. He asked Sato Sakichi to completely re-write it, and Sakichi did so in so short a time that he claims he was pretty much writing from his subconscious. After a successful screening at Cannes, it was released theatrically. The new script was produced in two weeks; and much of the dialog, particularly for pivotal scenes, is completely improvised.

'''Warning:''' Due to the nature of the story, the list below may contain '''spoilers'''.
!!This film provides examples of:
* AmbiguouslyGay: Several of the Nagoya denizens, particularly the guide.
* BadassLongcoat: Minami.
* BeautifulDreamer: The way Minami scans sleeping Female Ozaki in her bed.
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: The size of Minami's manhood is a recurring topic.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: During one scene, [[spoiler:one of the actors breaks character to yell at the store-owner's wife for her terrible Japanese line delivery]].
* CatapultNightmare: The way Minami jumps from his cow-head dream.
* CreepyCrossdresser: The staff of the cafe in Nagoya aren't actually villainous; just... really disturbing.
* DiesWideOpen: [[spoiler:Minami is notably irritated by Ozaki's starring eyes.]]
* FanDisservice: Hoo boy.
* {{Gayngster}}: [[spoiler: Minami, and ultimately Ozaki. Possibly others.]]
* GenderBender
* GoOutWithASmile: [[spoiler:Boss]] does this due to a fatal rectal stimulus.
* {{Gorn}}: Surprisingly little for a Miike film; but there are a few moments.
* HappyEnding: [[spoiler:Boss is dead, brother returns to the world of the living via the vagina of a woman claiming to be his reincarnation, she takes a bath and the protagonist the girl and brother go out and have a good time... credits roll.]]
* IfIDoNotReturn: Parodied by Ozaki, giving this speech in a overly dramatic manner right before he goes to face the yakuza car killer woman.
* {{Improv}}: Some of the key scenes were improvised, as was a great deal of dialog.
* JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind: The entire story after the arrival in Nagoya can be seen as this.
* JumpingTheGenderBarrier: Sort of, used symbolically.
* KickTheDog: Gangster Ozaki, in the "Yakuza attack dog" scene at the beginning of the movie. Well, not so much kick the dog, as pick it up by its leash and bash it to a bloody pulp on the nearest wall. Both figuratively and ''literally''. The moment where Ozaki clearly goes from annoyingly unstable, to dangerously insane.
* KillerRabbit: Played with. We'll never know if the cute Chihuahua in fact was a trained Yakuza attack dog.
* LethalChef: The chicken custard.
* MindScrew: Even when you know what the movie is about.
* OrWasItADream: At one point, Minami has a strange dream where he is being licked by a man in underwear wearing a cow head. Then he wakes up via CatapultNightmare and finds the leather pouch in his lap that he was given by the man in his dream.
* {{Reincarnation}}
* RuleOfSymbolism: The film makes almost no sense at all without the realization that, not only is nearly everything symbolic, it uses symbols and tropes drawn from several entirely unrelated sources ([[spoiler: mainly Japanese and Greek mythology, as well as psychological metaphors for the main character's coming to terms with his homosexuality]]).
* SchrodingersButterfly: When Minami wakes from his nightmare he finds the letter that was handed to him in the dream. Is this just another illusion? Or wasn't it a dream in the first place?
* SurrealHorror: Although more horrific for the protagonist than the audience.
* ThereIsOnlyOneBed: In the hotel room where Minami and the girl spend the night. Sexual tension ensured.
* {{Yakuza}}