At the beginning of Seijun Suzuki’s taut and twisty whodunit, a prison truck is attacked and a convict inside is murdered. The penitentiary warden on duty, Daijiro (Michitaro Mizushima), is accused of negligence and suspended, only to take it upon himself to track down the killers. —The Criterion Collection
Seijun Suzuki (鈴木 清順, Suzuki Seijun?), born Seitaro Suzuki (鈴木 清太郎 Suzuki Seitarō) on May 24, 1923, is a Japanese filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter. His films are renowned by film enthusiasts worldwide for their jarring visual style, irreverent humour, nihilistic cool and entertainment-over-logic sensibility. He made 40 predominately B-movies for the Nikkatsu Company between 1956 and 1967, working most prolifically in the yakuza genre. His increasingly surreal style began to draw the ire of the studio in 1963 and culminated in his ultimate dismissal for what is now regarded his magnum opus, Branded to Kill (1967), starring notable collaborator Joe Shishido. Suzuki successfully sued the studio for wrongful dismissal but was blacklisted for 10 years. As an independent filmmaker he won critical acclaim and a Japanese Academy Award for his Taishō Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).
His films remained widely unknown outside of Japan until a series… read more
While the narrative is (self-awareingly) convoluted, Suzuki emphasizes a story in which a man of public service, a suspended prison guard, sees how business dehumanizing interactions to rise above itself. The horrid casualties result in revelation for young Yuko, a woman that has inherited a position of management, that capitalism has an agenda into which she is not able to integrate, nor emotionally accept. Amazing.
Your average genre noir. If Suzuki hadn't directed it, it wouldn't be remembered today. Grade: D+.