Not about characterization nor dramatic dimension at all, but about balances of power, that sadly doesn't fully excite. Kitano's technical elements are exceptional, as is his dark humor, yet the tangled world of Yakuza politics/double crosses grows irksome quickly, being emotionally vacant. The avoidance of storytelling basics for a complicated plot is quite drab. However, there are some good ideas strewn around.
Why was Otomo knifed in the jail....? I would have cut in the prison scene. Open-ended films are my beach. That Kato was a mofoca. Played all like a fiddle even his boss. This is like Silvio or Paulie having had plotted successfully against Tony Soprano! Kitano you're still on fire!
La trama è un continuo susseguirsi di tradimenti e scontri interni alla yakuza, delineando un'organizzazione senza scrupoli. Ottimo ritmo e narrazione sempre chiara e appassionante. Il microcosmo trattato viene caratterizzato benissimo. Mole sequenze ottime e bel montaggio. La critica portata avanti alla yakuza non sacrifica l'intrattenimento, anch'esso di qualità. Personaggi ben interpretati che restano impressi
Ben nota la tendenza di Kitano a girare scene violente, ma forse un pugno ogni circa 10 parole è una media un pò alta. Le scene di violenza sono talmente numerose che passano dall'impressionare a provocare un senso di noiosa ripetizione un pò pedante. Rinnovato è invece il senso della regia del giapponese, che con un formato più ampio dipinge delle scene meravigliose, grazie anche ad una sceneggiatura notevole.
I said in another context, that the subject of Kitanos movies is violence in both ways - his characters seem just tokens expressing the movemement of an abstract real, violence. The rigidly hierachical structure of the Yakuza adds the element of power, another 'automatic subject'. The object gaze reserved for the audience makes the sometimes already breathtakingly violent scenes roughen you up a bit.
En compétition à Cannes, ce film éclaire comme dans Donnie BRASCO, le fonctionnement "bête et discipliné" des mafias (ici yakuzas). Dans ce milieu d'ultra prédateurs, la moindre erreur se paie cher. Et de laver l'affront à perdre le pouvoir, le chemin est très court et les pertes humaines s’amoncellent. https://www.facebook.com/zyx.mhclaes/media_set?set=a.698762710179875.1073741885.100001384583310&type=3
A fun watch-- there are about a dozen+ characters and almost zero focus/elaboration on any of them, so you end up passively watching the power game without particular investment in any party. Doesn't really give an immersive, emotive experience. Direction is solid and avoids much of the tacky cliche of gangster films.
A motorcade with mob bosses looks like a funeral procession. Yakuza tattoos dotted with blood of a recently deceased look like a deranged still life. Men being shot with automatic weapons look like puppets dancing on a string. A softball game looks like the existential travails of Sisyphus characters. Kitano finds poetry in violence and the mundane. But the film overall is nothing but an empty shell.
3.75 - Not his best but still a Kitano auteur piece and still showing some of his flair and trademarks. The lack of realism in much of the violence was disappointing, characterisation was a bit thin and it was perhaps a little predictable but it was well put together and entertaining. Time to re-watch some early Kitano I think. It's been too long.
This film about yakuza gangsters offers up a smorgasbord of ways to die. Entertainingly repulsive you have to look away when fingers are being cut off or chopsticks are shoved into an ear but the intrigue is compelling. The yakuza portrayed seem as ambitious as anyone climbing a corporate ladder though the methods employed are a bit Draconian.
Definitely one of Kitano's many masterworks. His demonstration of savage and brutal Yakuza competition is terrifying. The discipline of his shot language is arresting, time feels irrelevant and the terrible implications of crime syndicate management are magnified with potent sound design and musical structure. Outrage is somewhat of a dance through the illusions of respect and loyalty in Japan's criminal underworld.