I thought about it over the night — it was hard to get to sleep last night — and I can say that United Red Army is the most disturbing film I have ever seen.
United Red Army is the story of birth, life, and death of the URA, formed by an alliance between the Japanese Red Army Faction (RAF) and the Japanese Revolutionary Leftist Faction (RLF).
I started watching United Red Army knowing only about the events which concern the middle part of the film, and those only in outline. I recommend going into the film with as little knowledge as possible. The craziness of the United Red Army is underscored by not knowing what happens next.
Think of a cult or revolutionary terrorist organization. The URA is more dysfunctional. The horror of United Red Army does not come from the civilians or police they kill (Though there are a few). The horror of the United Red Army is how they treat their own members.
It is amazing that except for one moment of comic relief (“There is no such thing as a counterrevolutionary cookie!”) there is no sense of the absurd in the film. The insanity storyline is much closer to a comedy or satire than something that could have actually happened. Imagine The Office with Trotskyite-Maoist rhetoric.
Except United Red Army is not a comedy. The United Red Army actually was.