Pale Flower (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Original theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens
Top Customer Reviews
This edition, released by Home Vision Entertainment, has a good transfer and picture quality, and the film also boasts a very good score. The music is especially powerful near the end of the film. Overall, it is a must for anyone who likes yakuza films, film noir, or Japanese cinema.
The movie explores two people, a criminal and a criminal wannabe, who both seek a fast life they know is meaningless, who want to find something more even as their gut tells them there is nothing more to be found. The power of the film shows how easily people can be fooled by, and try to fill their live's with, superficial actions that provide only a temporary rush and escape. The characters know this, but feel life's other options are just as pointless or beyond their reach. Ryo Ikebe puts in a strong performance and oozes cool, I'm not sure why I haven't seen him in more leading man roles.
It is easy for the viewer to get seduced by the superficial highs as well, as you find yourself rooting for two very charismatic people who, while not outright evil, are certainly not trying to leave any meaningful mark on the world (being a killer doesn't help much of course). They know it is all a facade however, on the one hand feeling they should try to live the "decent life", but not enough to run the risk of being mired in the tedium of everyday catchings.
The 1960's Japanese gangster world of gambling is interesting, including playing some games I had never seen before, but serves mostly as a convenient backdrop to a movie that is primarilly about the human condition. Don't expect any happy endings here.Read more ›
While that's the gist of the story, the nuances of camera angles and musical shifts provide the muscle that drives it right between your eyes. It's a damn good film, bleak yet jazzy, with beautiful shot after beautiful shot of the characters and their shifty surroundings. It's an original twist on the yakuza genre which I haven't seen before and wonder why it hasn't been copied a dozen times since (not to my knowledge at least).
I definitely recommend Pale Flower for fans of 60s era yakuza films or for anyone interested in watching a rotten relationship get even worse, and begin to destroy everything around it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pale Flower is a yakuza film but it's much more than that, it's also a love story about two people whose recklessness leads to their own demise. Read morePublished 8 days ago by B. Adducchio
This film is just dripping with Japanese yakuza cool.although this movie is quite unique and kind of in a class all it's own. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jon Hufford
Muraki is a middle aged yakuza fresh out of jail for murder. Played to perfection by Ryô Ikebe, he's quiet, disciplined, smokes his cigarettes with style, sports a smart suit and a... Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Alfredo
Pale Flower tells the story of a lonely Yakuza who has just been paroled from a three year bit for murder. Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by monty70
The shots of Tokyo that open up Pale Flower are fairly stunning. Pale Flower has great musical score and several nice set pieces set in the Japanese Underworld of the early... Read morePublished on December 2, 2011 by Paul
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