Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Takeshi Kitano makes a welcome return with a Yakuza movie, something he last did in 2000 with Brother, shot in America it told the story of a Yakusa officer who after his boss is killed moves to Los Angeles in search of his brother and sets up a powerful gangster unit who expand their operations until they inevitable clash with the Mafia. In Outrage (2010) he does what he does best, film violence.

Several subsidiary bosses gather at a lavish lunch with ‘Mr Chairman’ (Soichiro Kitamura) the head of the ruling Sanno-kai crime organization which controls the Greater Tokyo area. Sanno-kai underboss Kato (Tomokazu Miura) warns Ikemoto about his overt dealings with family outsider Murase (Renji Ishibashi), an old time Yakuza with whom he recently made a pact while being incarcerated in prison. In an effort to ease Mr Chairman’s suspicions, Ikemoto asks fellow boss Otomo (Kitano) to carry out his dirty work for him by making a minor but obvious move against Murase. Otomo’s actions set off a series of ruthless conflicts and betrayals. Before you can say little finger several Yakusa clans are out for blood in a constant battle for power and money. The rival bosses fight to rise through the ranks by scheming and making short-lived allegiances. The situation spirals out of control and leads to all-out gang warfare.[1]

At least the Yakuza don't have to pay severance pay!

Kitano who reportedly had a clear vision on what he wanted for his film not only directs and acts in this intelligent and atmospheric gangster movie he also wrote it and took on the editing responsibilities. His film reflects modern day commerce in that if you removed the violence what goes on in a Yakuza organisation goes on in any business, political or corporate organisation where people only care about themselves and not society at large. The directors powerful on screen presence rubs off on the rest of the brilliant Japanese ensemble cast who take on their on screen persona with convincing relish. A word also for the cinematography of Katsumi Yanagijima that includes some great shots, the best of which is the line of cars that are moving in convoy on an empty highway. It’s a movie where pure violence takes the place of emotions, to gain deeper emotions the level of violence is turned up so beware although it’s a movie about a chain of command its also a film about death.

[1] Thanks to Celluloid Dreams press notes.

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