Contemporary black crime comedy
2010, colour, 2.35:1, 109 mins
Directed by Kitano Takeshi (北野武)
By Derek Elley
Mon, 17 May 2010, 10:55 AM (HKT)
Unfunny, dark satire of warring yakuza that's high on violence and low on originality. Minimal business outside Japan.
Tokyo, present day. The heads of several yakuza clans are gathered at a lunch meeting organised by Mr. Chairman (Kitamura Soichiro), head of the Sanno-kai "family" that controls Greater Tokyo. Sanno-kai deputy head Kato (Miura Tomokazu) privately cautions clan boss Ikemoto (Kunimura Jun) that Mr. Chairman is suspicious about his closeness to fellow clan boss Murase (Ishibashi Renji), a black sheep of the Sanno-kai. So Ikemoto asks a favour of clan boss Otomo (Beat Takeshi): stage a fake attack against Murase to allay Mr. Chairman's suspicions. Otomo cannot refuse Ikemoto, who is his sworn father, but the staged incident only makes things worse, as rivalries between the clan heads break out. Otomo finds himself doing a lot of the dirty work for Ikemoto, who is determined to keep Mr. Chairman happy, and gets caught up in the slipstream of the bigger power play behind the scenes.
Though it's been 10 years since KITANO Takeshi 北野武 made his last yakuza movie (Brother ＢＲＯＴＨＥＲ (2000)), the break doesn't seem to have refreshed him in any way. As in his non-yakuza movies inbetween — and especially the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Takeshis' ＴＡＫＥＳＨＩＳ’ (2005), Glory to the Filmmaker 監督・ばんざい！ (2007) and Achilles and the Tortoise アキレスと亀 (2008) — there's a tired, unimaginative feel to Outrage アウトレイジ (2010), of a once highly creative writer-director now going through the paces without anything new to show or say. Largely shot in dully-lit offices, the film is visually bland, apart from occasional exteriors; the violence is cartoonish (chopsticks rammed into an ear, a dentist's drill rammed into a mouth) without any wit or dramatic power; the plot virtually impossible to follow in its complexity; and the cuss-heavy dialogue boringly repetitive. Outrage is about old-timers still fighting old-time battles in old-time ways, and the same could be said about Kitano himself, a '90s filmmaker whose great movies like A Scene at the Sea あの夏、いちばん静かな海 (1991), Sonatine ソナチネ (1993), Fireworks ＨＡＮＡーＢＩ (1997) and Kikujiro 菊次郎の夏 (1999) now seem to belong to another era. Performances are solid within their limits, but the only memorable character is the non-yakuza, bent cop Kataoka, played with charming insouciance by KOHINATA Fumiyo 小日向文世.
ContactSales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Premiere: Cannes Film Festival (Competition), 17 May 2010. Theatrical release: Japan, 12 Jun. 2010.
Produced by Bandai Visual (JP), TV Tokyo (JP), Omnibus Japan (JP), Office Kitano (JP). Producers: Mori Masayuki, Yoshida Takio.
Script: Kitano Takeshi. Photography: Yanagijima Katsumi. Editing: Ota Yoshinori, Kitano Takeshi. Music: Suzuki Keiichi. Production design: Isoda Norihiro. Art direction: Ozeki Tatsuo. Costume design: Kurosawa Kazuko. Otomo costume design: Yamamoto Yohji. Sound: Horiuchi Senji.
Cast: "Beat" Takeshi [Kitano Takeshi] (Otomo), Shiina Kippei (Mizuno), Kase Ryo (Ishihara Ideto, Sanno deputy head), Kohinata Fumiyo (Kataoka, detective), Kitamura Soichiro (Mr. Chairman), Miura Tomokazu (Kato Minoru, Sanno chairman), Kunimura Jun (Ikemoto), Sugimoto Tetta (Ozawa), Tsukamoto Takashi (Iizuka), Nakano Hideo (Kimura, former Murase deputy head), Ishibashi Renji (Murase), Herschel Peppers (Gbanan ambassador).