There are directors whose work we enjoy when first introduced to them, but then after viewing a number of films they lose their appeal. These other films may be even be better in some ways than the first ones we saw, but the spark is gone. This film is when I started to get diminishing returns from Suzuki, mostly as an arbitrary function of how many others I had already seen. Had I seen it first, maybe I'd love it.
Suzuki chews up and spits out a manic concoction of Kurosawa, 50s B-Movie bliss and best of the Hollywood Western. Don't be fooled by the frenetic pace and editing, there is a carefully honed, coherent vision here from the rough n' ready violence to the sharp, kaleidoscopic photography. The source material may feel a little familiar, but man, Suzuki takes the Yakuza genre and doesn't look back.
With blaring, glaring, Kentonian glam gilding its thousand yard stares and cross-crossing snares, Youth of the Beast packs more and maybe better bang than its more storied sequels in the hybrid genre Suzuki was crashing together as he raced along through the 1960s.
Seijun Suzuki is a stylist above all else, and not the kind that seems to have any concern with the likes of plot, character, or making his films in any realm of logic or sense. If you take it at that level, this is a lot of violent, cool fun. If you look for any shred or semblance of story or reason, you will have a considerably less enjoyable time with his films.
A trippy roller coaster filled with sexual charge, violence, and lots of color. Suzuki uses virtually every camera trick and editing technique to keep the viewer wondering what's coming next at all times. Sound use, and lack of at times, is wonderful. Purposefully campy. Staging and blocking were truly magical. The movie flowed so well. Loved the deep staging of scenes.
An campy gangster film that echoes the daftness of the Connery inspired period of Bond. There's some innovative cinematography in there, notably the torture pressed up against the glass (camera?), but that's all there is to shout about. The characters are largely forgettable, including stock anti hero, and the plot meanders to a satisfactory, if slightly predictable, conclusion.
Surprisingly (to me at least) this film reminds early James Bond, (less comic relief in the mix) what's probably best summary. In my opinion it definitely gets better towards the end, including badass ending! If you love Tokyo, this is another reason to watch Youth Of The Beast, an excellent opportunity to experience Tokyo early 60's!
Pretty standard gangster/revenge storyline beefed up by Suzuki's oddball flair for the stylish and the absurd. Definitely feels like an early Bond film and you can tell that this was created under the regulations of a movie studio's expectations rather than being a true representation of the Japanese auteur's work. If you want the full fat triple pounder Suzuki head towards Branded to Kill - it's brilliantly bonkers.
This Yakuza film is a riff on Yojimbo's often trodden plot with the classy, suit-wearing elegance and cool vibe of a James Bond film. While Joe Shishido is great to watch, Youth of the Beast doesn't really catch a good stride or punch as hard as it could, seeming bogged down by the lack of flow of its narrative. However, the action and style is inventive, and it sports a clever end twist, with a fine last scene.