DVD Autoreiji

DVD Autoreiji
DVD Autoreiji

Run time: 109 min
Rating: 6.8
Genres: Crime | Drama
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Writers: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shîna, Ryô Kase
Storyline
The plot concerns a struggle for power amongst Tokyo’s Yakuza clans, today just as likely to be playing the stock market as shaking down pachinko parlors, over which the Sanmo-kai clan holds sway in the face of constant betrayal and ever-changing allegiances. The Sanmo-kai chairman learns that his henchman Ikemoto has struck an alliance with the drug-dealing Murase family, and is not best pleased, to say the least. The ensuing retaliation triggers an orgy of killings, territorial invasions and score settling while law enforcement officers are too corrupt to intervene. Written by Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
Plot Keywords: yakuza, organized crime, written and directed by cast member, beating, african
Details:
Country: Japan
Release Date: 12 June 2010 (Japan)

4 Comments

  1. Kitano, who has left the personal, lyrical and poetic quality behind, now emerges as a filmmaker reaching out to the mainstream. Outrage is the start of his second Yakuza trilogy (Outrage 2 has been announced for next year), and plays out on a Shakespearean stage with the epic quality of Dostoyevsky. Unlike his first trilogy (Violent Cop, Boiling Point and Sonatine), this movie focuses on the politics of the yakuza rather than an intimate portrait of a compromised individual.

    There are random acts of extreme violence that continue to propel the plot forward. Kitano, playing the underboss Otomo, is a similar role to his other characters in yakuza movies which portray out of control individuals that have a minor standing yet have the last word at the end of the play. Rather than focusing on the beauty of mobsters hiding out on the beach, this is a gritty, urban drama much in the tradition of Johnnie To's triad movies (Election) that has dominated the organized crime dramas over the past decade.

    In showing the criminality of the human mind, it evokes Mario Bava's study in Rabid Dogs, similarly Kitano is building a Brechtian inspired drama about the harsh existential life. Kitano continues to explain and further define his worldview through the character of a doomed nihilist anti-hero. In all of Kitano's yakuza character studies, there is no hope, or redemption, only a further plunge into an ugly existence of lies and deceit, where only an act of violence can bring about change.

    As Kitano remarked publicly about his making of Outrage, he is giving the people what they want – no pretense of artistic embellishments, but rather blunt, cruel acts of violence of the professional criminal devoid of any romanticism. One scene in particular evokes The Godfather, but that is where the similarities end – there is nothing glamorous about the yakuza lifestyle.

    In this film, Kitano assumes the duties as in his other yakuza films as that of star, director, editor and writer. The vision is completely his own. The pacing is deliberately slow, showing that the life of a criminal is not particularly exciting but rather mundane as that of any other type of businessman, mostly involving allegiances of convenience and acts of betrayal. There is no illumination or redemption here, no course of action will lead to a better life, such is the basic tenet of a nihilist.

    There is little flourish in the direction such as to immerse the viewer into the dark, banal existence of its characters. The one scene that brings a sense of relief with sunlight streaming through the trees on a backstreet, is colored darkly by seemingly innocent activity that is actually quite sinister for the individuals involved.

    This is a welcome and long overdue return for Kitano to the yakuza genre which he abandoned a decade ago for a trilogy of felliniesque introspective autobiographical films. There are no experimental sequences or absurdist imagery as in his previous films. As a consequence, Kitano is no longer held back with meditative musings, instead giving the viewer an unfiltered take on the corruption, lies, and phony existence of the individual in an artificial society – that any person in any social situation is merely part of an inauthentic social contract.

    In many ways, the lack of artistic pretense in Outrage only serves to further embolden the bleak message that Kitano has for us. This is not a film for the weak of heart, nor is it one for the impatient, it is a slow revelation revealing the emptiness of life and the pointlessness of all action.

  2. Outrage is the film that many fans of director Kitano Takeshi (and, no doubt, his investors) have been clamoring for ever since he embarked on his art-house odyssey with 2002's Dolls. The ensuing years' films ranged from introspective (Takeshis) to wacky (Kantoku Banzai!), and brought him critical acclaim but not much success at the box office. Outrage is clearly designed to please fans of Takeshi's earlier films, such as Sonatine or Violent Cop: hard-boiled gangster films taking places in the shadowy world of Japan's yakuza.

    The plot revolves around an internal power struggle within an established yakuza family: a fairly standard trope in gangster films in the East and West. Building on this frame Takeshi piles on a number of events, the sequence characterized by the sort of surreally disconnected quality that I associate with his films. It's difficult to follow causality from one event to the next, and in many cases they seem to operate as interesting vignettes loosely connected through the overarching plot. Some are blackly humorous, some are brutally violent, most are characterized by lots of yelling and cursing in the sort of coarse Japanese that's really difficult for non-native speakers to get. Luckily the plot is simple enough to follow, but I do wonder about missing out on some of the finer details…

    The characters are filled out only in broad strokes, and most of the standard types are represented: the godfather-like boss, the loyal lieutenant, the conniving underling, the dundering muscle and so on. Takeshi gets generally excellent performances out of the cast, who manage to come off as sincere and spontaneous. He mentioned in a recent television interview that he shoots most of his scenes in only one or two takes, and the film feels fresh. There's some very good talent here, mostly genre actors but good ones. You develop sympathy for a lot of them by the film's end, which is a mark in its favor.

    One of the things I really enjoyed about the film was Takeshi's camera-work, which remains sharp and eye-pleasing as ever. He makes effective use of wide-angle close-ups, and does some great riffs off of Coppola in several scenes. Long pans and still shots are also used well. One that really sticks out in my memory from the beginning of the film is a low, outside shot of a line of black cars, just the rear quarter panels, lined up one after the other traveling down the road. It's an odd shot, but serenely beautiful and effective at conveying a sense of the power and menace of the men inside.

    On the minus side, the plot really is simplistic and predictable. Not to the extent of boredom, but once you understand the setup it's not at all hard to imagine how things are bound to turn out. Also, I thought the film felt, on the whole, a bit too clean. The cars in every scene are immaculately polished, every actor is decked out in a neatly arranged designer suit, and every set has all of its props in a neatly prescribed arrangement. It presents a somewhat dystopic, but ultimately whitewashed view of yakuza society that would feel retrograde in a Western gangster film.

    Overall, it's nice to see a new yakuza film come out of Takeshi's shop, hallmarked with the same sort of black humor, extreme violence and artistic flair that we've come to expect from this perennial festival honoree. I would, however, have liked to see a bit more of how his intervening films might have affected this genre. Outrage is a good yakuza film, but doesn't do much (enough?) to step outside of its element.

  3. Two yakuza families that were once able to co-exist thanks to a pact made by their bosses while the two were in prison soon find themselves at each other's throats after there are a few hiccups in the drug trafficking side of the business. The Ikemoto family and the Murase family are in the middle of a war as the chairman the two crime syndicates answer to continues to pull the strings. Sekuichi (Kitamura Soichiro), the boss of the Sannokai, tells his right-hand man Ikemuto (Kunimura Jun) to put the Murase family in line. Since Ikemuto and Murase (Renji Ishibashi) are still under their pact at this point, Ikemuto passes the assignment onto his subordinate Otomo (Takeshi Kitano), who takes matters into his own hands with his own gang.

    I probably have a fairly limited amount of knowledge when it comes to Takeshi Kitano's films since I've only seen a handful and have yet to see his most prestigious films. With that said, I've seen enough to know who the guy is, admire his work, and at least look forward to his upcoming projects. When it came to Outrage, it seemed like an undiscovered gem right from the start. Another yakuza film made and starring Beat Takeshi? It sounds like the type of movie you'd willingly pay whatever price for without blinking an eye. That isn't really the case though as Outrage fails to really leave a lasting impression.

    Walking away from Outrage, you'll probably only be left with its bloody violence and not much else. Everybody was chopping off their fingers left and right to apologize. It was amazing so many of these guys still had any appendages left at all. But the violence gets pretty vicious at times; a box cutter to the face, countless people getting shot to death, chopsticks being used in a fairly unique way, and it even features one of the worst ways a dental appointment could go. Other than the brutality though, all of the events that transpired felt very underwhelming due to them being similar to most other gangster and yakuza films out there. Nothing was shocking or unpredictable; it all felt very safe. Most of my yakuza film watching experience falls under Takashi Miike's filmography. Miike is able to make a film about anything and take it in a direction you're not expecting while adding his own trademarks to it. While Outrage felt like a Takashi Kitano film, it didn't really seem like anything he hadn't already accomplished before. It almost felt recycled from both his films and other films similar to Outrage. The film also lacked any sort of supporting female character as most women in the film were used as props or were disposed of rather quickly. It's incredibly disappointing as well as Outrage had loads of potential, but was never really able to push anything past that mediocre barrier. Its use of perspective is intriguing at times, but doesn't make up for a film that comes off like it isn't willing to take any risks.

    It's not so much that Outrage is a bad film because it isn't. It's actually a fairly solid crime film. Its biggest issue is that it fails to live up to expectations given the cast and Takeshi Kitano's reputation for being a part of films that are generally a lot better than this. Outrage tends to feel very familiar. If you've seen a gangster or yakuza film before, then you know what to expect with Outrage. With its explosive use of violence and rather eye-catching cinematography, Outrage isn't the type of film you should make a high priority to go out of your way to see but is generally pretty decent once you do finally get around to it.

  4. Viewed at the Festival du Film, Cannes 2010

    Takeshi Kitano's return to his familiar stamping ground, the Yakuza, their intrigues, vendettas and highly inventive ways of inflicting extreme unpleasantness on one another, was given less than a stellar welcome by critics at the Festival. A common refrain was that there was nothing new on offer here, no new insights, just a retread of the familiar. Well, they are right, but is that really such a bad thing?

    I say no, not when we get tough guys, sharp suits, black humour, extreme violence (you might never want to visit the dentist again), a convoluted plot that is hard to follow but has something to do with rivalry, inheriting the reins of power and inflicting extreme violence on the other team. Oh yes, there's also betrayal and extreme violence.

    Outrage is old-school Takeshi Kitano, a (for me) welcome return to his glory days, not that he ever left them behind (I've time for all his films, if not his gameshows). If you like the man, as actor or director, then you won't be disappointed by this film, just as long as you are not expecting something new and different, that is.

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