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A Taxing Woman

22 customer reviews

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(Oct 07, 1998)
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(May 17, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

English subtitles, Japanese language, Full Frame, All Region Import. Ryoko Itakura is a government tax agent who has just landed a big promotion. Her first assignment is to catch wheeler-dealer Hideki Gondo. She has a tough job, since in Japan tax evasion is an art and Gondo is, in effect, Rembrandt. Her job is complicated by a growing sympathy for the rogue and by political pressure to lay off.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nobuko Miyamoto, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Masahiko Tsugawa
  • Directors: Juzo Itami
  • Format: Dolby, NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Itami Productions
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000X1P0JW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,551 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 24, 2008
Format: DVD
Itami Juzo is the Frank Capra of Japanese movies. His plots are always upbeat, the characters quirky, and the good guys always win. Like Capra, he wanted to show people a better way, to show Japan a world where corruption and evil could be brought down by a smiling and plucky woman who doesn't let anyone tell her what she can't do

"A Taxing Woman" ("Marusa no Onna") is his third film, following his masterpiece Tampopo, and is the first in a series of "-Woman" ("-no Onna") films staring his wife Nobuko Miyamoto as the smiling and plucky woman. In this film, she plays a tax collector, on a mission to bring the corrupt and shady businessmen of Japan into line, and get them paying their taxes. Her target is Hideki Gondo, an owner of a chain of Love Hotels who uses a complicated system of phony bank accounts to avoid registering his real income with the government.

Because this is an Itami film, Gondo (played by Tsutomu Yamazaki, also the cowboy Goro in "Tampopo") is not a bad man per se, but just someone out to take a bigger slice of the pie. He is unable to resist the charms of Nobuko, who takes him down smiling, and also patches things up between Gondo and his wayward son Taro. Nobuko is irresistible, and Itami found an amazing muse in his beautiful wife. Here, she is speckled with freckles to give her character a unique look, but her beaming smile and determination are impossible to hide.

However, make no mistake in thinking that "A Taxing Woman" is a G-Rated feel good film. In true Japanese style, Itami has no fear of sex or toilet humor, and plenty of both are on display here.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Schultz on December 5, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie is one of the most perfect crime films I have ever seen. From the first frame to the last frame, it displays total mastery of filmmaking. Despite the language barrier, the acting is breathtaking. This is a director who uses the physicality of his actors in ways that few can. If you are lucky enough to rent or see this film, pay attention to the way the actors move on screen, particularly the genius Tsutomu Yamazaki. Finally, the intricate mechanics of crime and law enforcement are captured in this film, much like HBO's "The Wire" has done in a longer format.

Yet all of this has been said in the other reviews posted here. What I would like to share with the Amazon community is a little-known truth in America: Itami Juzo did NOT commit suicide, but died under extremely suspicious conditions. A well-known and accepted fact in Japan, Juzo was murderd by the Yakuza for making this and the film's sequel.

Like the impact of his films, the reasons for his murder are hard to understand in America. This film and its sequal were made when discussing the Yakuza's crimes publically was a forbidden thing in Japan due to fear of reprisal. Even today, the Yakuza's corruption that permeates Japanese society and politics is very rarely discussed in detail in publications and movies. It is both their extremely violent means and their extremely complex methods of moneymaking using real estate and banking that make this invisible corruption easy to ignore for most middle and upper class Japanese people. For the poor and helpless who are the victims of the Yakuza, they are an accepted fact, to be avoided at all costs instead of being confronted.

Juzo and his wife did not accept this.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As Tampopo is truly delicious, this film is an unadulterated joy. Fans of Juzo Itami and his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto will recognize old friends from other adventures in this offering. Like a much beloved repertory company, familiar faces are to be found new and surprising roles.
Taking an unlikely subject for heroic portrayal, Itami's (as usual) delightfully feministic touch on that dreaded villain the tax auditor is effective and engaging. Unlike MINBO, which for some inexplicable reason bores me beyond redemption, this film is easily accessible and eminently watchable. Aside from some quite graphic nudity at the very beginning, (view by parents first), the film is an excellent overall story accessible to an audience over about 15. (Depending on your feelings about sex and taxes).
In reference to the subtitling, I must say that ALL subtitling for Itami's films leaves a great deal to be desired, and I frankly don't see that much difference between the DVD and VHS versions ... but I must admit I am not a connoisseur on the matter, either. The ease of use and storage outweigh all other concerns for me.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is quite good. Not exactly like Tanpopo but it's a fascinating movie with memorable characters. Unfortunately, the DVD version is absolutely terrible. The DVD version of Tanpopo is a hundred times better. It's very clear that this was a sloppy job. It's nothing but a very poor VHS transfer of the movie to DVD. Bad thing is that the DVD highlights the imperfections of the original VHS so that even people like me can see it. The quality of picture is fuzzy and the subtitles are the ones from the VHS (not DVD subtitles). This results in words that are impossible to see in some scenes and hard to read in all the others since the picture quality is quite fuzzy. Unless you are a die-hard fan of this movie, you're better off spending your money getting the DVD of Tanpopo. The DVD of Tanpopo is not perfect but the quality is still reasonable good and sharp and much better than this ... job.
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