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  Outrage Got Them Beat
Year: 2010
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shîna, Ryo Kase, Fumiyo Kohinata, Sôichirô Kitamura, Tadashi Sakata, Kenji Morinaga, Masaki Miura, Tomio Emoto, Jun'ichi Nitta, Tomokazu Miura, Tetta Sukinoto, Hideo Nakano, Leon Shibli Ahmad, Renji Ishibashi, Jun Kunimura
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Sannokai clan are one of the most widespread yakuza gangs in Japan, with fingers in many pies, though now in the twenty-first century they have branched out to concentrate on more respectable lines than what they made their fortune with all those years ago. Because of this, the Chairman has ordered a crackdown on one of his bosses who has been generating a lot of money with drugs which he regards as a no-no, and he orders another powerful underling, Otomo (Takeshi Kitano), to do something about it. Little does anyone realise that a can of worms will be opened by this action as the rivalries between various factions within the organisation are brought to the boil - who will survive?

And what will be left of them? No, wrong film, but there was a sense of Outrage building up to an absolute bloodbath all the way through the story, and if you had a lust for onscreen violence, director and writer Takeshi was not about to disappoint you. That was down to his fans being very disappointed in the years immediately previous to this release thanks to the Japanese auteur dabbling in art movies which had not been especially popular at the box office; this was his attempt to regain that crown as the nation's foremost gangster movie maker. Whether he pulled this off or not was indicated by his next few efforts taking their cue as strictly yakuza flicks, including two sequels to this instalment.

They were not widely seen outside Japan, not in the West where he enjoyed a following at any rate, but the first one was offered at the very least a home entertainment distribution which was where most caught it. Much of that was down to Outrage as business as usual from Takeshi, it had his gangsters, his bursts of violence, his deadpan humour, but somehow his quirks had been ironed out in his desire to be as commercial as possible. Indeed, those jokes were not only more difficult to discern, they were merely bleakly humorous, leaving a cynical tone as he gave the audience what it wanted with a curious, almost contemptuous tone, not pretending to be indulging what had been successful before exactly, but you could almost hear a heavy sigh in its delivery.

The gangsters here were self-destructive because they could not see past their own self-interest, taking down the whole organisation because they were too proud, or more pertinently arrogant, to accept that if they had worked together and not made such a big deal about their increasing grievances then not one of them would have had to die. Alas, the opposite unfolds as the screenplay developed in well-constructed fashion but weighed down with the notion that these men, and it was mostly men, were wasting their lives and potential with their misguided sense of honour and privilege. Time and again we would watch one professional and indeed personal relationship shot down in flames when the people involved were so quick to anger, so slow to consider the consequences of their behaviour.

Takeshi made a point of working with cast members who were new to him, and that meant some of Japan's younger generation of thespians as well, bringing out a rather old man's despair at the wayward youth of the country, or what he saw as that anyway. If this lot are our future, he seemed to observe, then it doesn't hold out much hope for us as they have learned the older generation's worst habits and propensities, without learning from their bad example. He gave himself his typically blank-faced character to play (though he did laugh a bit), and was probably one of the most destructive players in this yarn, though he had a lot of competition for that position, and while there were moments of brutality, some very brutal indeed, he left his main setpieces till the last half hour when we began to ponder that not one of these men, and some of the women, were going to survive since they would rather kill or die than admit they were wrong, or even extend the olive branch of forgiveness. If this was not one of Takeshi's classics in the mind of those fans, it was thanks to what he had achieved, but it was pretty good for all that. Music by Keiichi Suzuki.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Takeshi Kitano  (1947 - )

Japanese director/actor/writer/comedian and one of the best-known entertainers in Japan. Entered showbiz in the early 70s as a stand-up comic, and began acting in the early 80s, his most famous early role being in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. As a director, Kitano's debut was 1989's Violent Cop, a gritty police thriller. The success of this led Kitano to explore similar cop/gangster territory in films like Boiling Point, Sonatine and the award-winning Hana-bi, all of which combined graphic violence, intense drama and off-beat comedy, while Kitano's more light-hearted side was revealed in the likes of the sex comedy Getting Any?, the autobiographical Kids Return and the whimsical Kikujiro.

If 2000's US-set Brother was a disappointment and Dolls visually stunning but hard-going, 2003's Zatoichi was a fast-moving, blood-splattered samurai romp. After a run of personal, financially unsuccessful art films, he returned to familiar territory with the Outrage series. As an actor, Kitano (credited as 'Beat' Takeshi, his comedy-persona) has appeared in films including Battle Royale, Gonin, Johnny Mnemonic, Gohatto and Takashi Miike's Izô.

 
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