HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Tokyo Drifter Pop Art Palaver
Year: 1966
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Hideaki Nitani, Ryûji Kita, Tsuyoshi Yoshida, Eimei Esumi, Tamio Kawaji, Eiji Gô, Tomoko Hamakawa, Isao Tamagawa, Michio Hino, Shuntarô Tamamura, Hiroshi Midorikawa, Hiroshi Chô, Akira Hisamatsu, Shinzo Shibata
Genre: Action, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Tetsu (Tetsuya Watari) used to be a yakuza, but now he wants to go straight, and it's all because his boss Kurata (Ryûji Kita) is attempting to establish a legitimate business for him and his men, having already bought an office block for that purpose. However, his rivals led by gang boss Yoshii (Michio Hino) are not going to let him get away with that, not so easily at any rate, and Tetsu finds himself rounded on in the street by yakuza thugs determined to force him back into a life of violence, though somehow he resists today and is left lying dazed by the docks, so Yoshii must find another way...

Seijun Suzuki is a director whose cult following occured some time after what should have been his heyday, his overbearing style applied to what were staples of Japanese genre cinema, yet just as he was about to truly break through problems with the studio saw to it that he had to take a long time out from his career, which may have led to his rediscovery but did mean his fans were denied a selection of works which could have defined a golden age for him. Tokyo Drifter is possibly his most celebrated effort, where he had been given a bog standard yakuza plot to shoot, only to dress it up with as many tricks as he could muster.

You do get the impression that Suzuki was bored with the storyline and was endeavouring to do all he could to make it interesting for himself by taking care of the visuals in a manner that suggested some kind of pop art approach rather than any gritty, or even vaguely realistic, method. There are many who settle down to watch Tokyo Drifter and find that after an hour and a half they are none the wiser about who was doing what to whom at the end than they were at the beginning, although its reputation as an impenetrable movie where you were really only viewing it to soak in the imagery was perhaps overdoing just how confusing it was - you could follow it to a degree.

Reading a plot synopsis if you were unsure of how far you would be able to keep up with the film might come in handy, but if you did you would find it was a collection of clichés playing out in much the same way that many a similar movie would do with its shootouts, double crosses, doomed romances and soul searching angst. What you needed to know was Tetsu was trying to be noble in a world that had no use for such high ideals, and he was being brought down to the level of corruption that all the other characters were, including his much respected boss. This leads him, after a few gun battles, to become the drifter of the title, eschewing the society which merely wishes to ensure he is on the same criminal level as it is.

But never mind that, how did it look? If it was true getting caught up with the plot set you on a hiding to nothing, visually you could see why Suzuki won so many plaudits, even if they arrived some time after this was finished and had slipped from most filmgoers' memories at the first release. Whether it was the secretary who spends all her time laughing uproariously at a manga only to be silenced with a bullet, or the nightclub which is constantly packed with manic groovers, or the Western saloon bar where a huge brawl breaks out apparently because this was a movie and that's the sort of thing that occurs in them, there was always something happening, and if the soul-searching from Tetsu tended to bring down the delirious mood, you felt Suzuki always had something new up his sleeve to sustain interest. If there was a flaw, it was that lack of interest in nearly anything but novelty and style, slapped together with a plaintive ballad from the hero's torch song chanteuse girlfriend one moment, then a shootout compromised by distance in feet the next. Music by Hajime Kaburagi.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3772 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Seijun Suzuki  (1923 - 2017)

A true rebel in the system, Seijun Suzuki marked out his distinctive style by taking a pop art approach to the gangster cliches he was ordered to make for the Nikkatsu studio, such as Youth of the Beast, Gate of Flesh, Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, but he eventually fell out with them over his wild visuals and spent a decade in the wilderness of television and the independents before he was rediscovered in the late seventies. He was making films into his eighties, with Pistol Opera and Princess Racoon winning acclaim in the 21st century.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: