A representative work from the early years of Ozu’s career, when he was known as one of the most innovative and “modern” directors in Japan. His idiosyncratic, and somewhat comical, take on the American gangster.
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Infused with Ozu's trademark visual flair and ellipses, even though the subject matter is unfamiliar and the camera moves in a manner alien to his famous latter films. All these years later it still feels fresh and cool, playful and light, refusing every melodramatic impulse. It just seems that greatness runs through everything that he did.
It starts off promising, but this noir drama ultimately collapses under its own unfocused melodrama in the middle section. Ozu wasn't too interested while making this film and it shows, with characters that don't seem as real as his other silents and cinematic inventions he'd later deem unnecessary. Not one of best early works, Ozu would far better with Passing Fancy.
Every time I think I'm about to see a stereotypical Ozu static shot on the inanimate, he moves the camera, and integrates these shots directly into the scene (as opposed to the juxtapositions he later used), that is, until the end. There, however, he gets especially symbolic and brings out the sun during such a shot. Overall, a neat and quick crime picture which, though preachy in its way, eschews simple bad guys.