Outrage: Way of the Yakuza
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In a ruthless battle for power, several yakuza clans vie for the favor of their head family in the Japanese underworld. The rival bosses seek to rise through the ranks by scheming and making allegiances sworn over sake;. Long-time yakuza Otomo has seen his kind go from elaborate body tattoos and severed fingertips to becoming important players on the stock market. Theirs is a never-ending struggle to end up on top, or at least survive, in a corrupt world where there are no heroes, but constant betrayal and vengeance.
Cast Panel Interview
Outrage Inside Out: Behind the Scenes Documentary
Cannes “Red Carpet” Premiere with Takeshi Kitano
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Outrage tells the story of Otomo, a long time enforcer that doesn't get much recognition or respect from those above him. His bosses lie and use him, and in some ways, he even knows this happens. But he's just doing his job. He isn't bothered by getting his hands dirty and he may be the best at it, so what of it? This changes, however, when his boss is asked to break a pact with another family head by the chairman (if you're unfamiliar with Yakuza ranks, think Don). Otomo's boss then has him start a small war that quickly escalates until Otomo can't even trust those he believed were friends. He may not even be able to trust those he respects most.
This is not a film for the faint of heart. It's not a film for those who are looking for big set pieces. It's a slow burn, but the acting, Cinematography and writing are so pitch perfect that it's worth a look. It's violent, understated, and artful like the Godfather. There is so much going on in every scene that with every rewatch you get more out of it. Kitano is at his best when tackling hard subjects like loyalty, self-worth, and honor. It's rare to see someone that can do it all in this age, and I'm glad he keeps putting out fantastic films to this day. Check out the sequel, Beyond Outrage as well. It's definitely worth the price.
The characters in this and its companion movie are depicted as a pack of wild dogs who make their counterparts in Reservoir Dogs look like kindergarten students.
This film follows the rivalries of two rival Yakuza gangs. Much of the movie is spent seeing the various gangsters position against themselves . The soundtrack, what little there is, is at an absolute minimum. This alone forces you to see the Yakuza members bicker, argue, yell, bargain, betray, and kill among themselves. In this regard the dialogue must be followed closely to see how the members try to double-cross and triple-cross each other.
The violence is unadorned, done in a matter-of-fact manner. If there is an execution, you will not hear a “Tah-Dah!” in the background; the only thing you will hear is a “Bang!” It is truly the banality of evil. Tony Soprano could learn a thing or two from these fellas.
The stand-out performance, in a cast of strong performances, was that of the corrupt police detective, a real weasel. I do not believe the screen has portrayed such a slimy, vile, despicable, venal, conniving, cunning, or duplicitous cop on the take in modern movie history.
However, I think that adds up to this movie's reality. I think Kitano wanted to portray the lives of outlaws true to its reality rather than make a beautified version of it. There's no romance, there's no salvation for anyone, just endless strife for money, killing, vendetta, and getting thrown off the game.
Also, in Japan, there's a nostalgia for a thing called 'Ninkyo'... something like honor and trust even between outlaws, but in this movie, the person who stands for it, Otomo, is ultimately killed(or seems like it). It isn't that well portrayed in this movie(although it is shown much better in the sequel, Outrage Beyond), but I could say the likes of Kato and Ishihara stand for the rather 'dishonorable' kind.
So, if you have/or want some understanding of such background, this movie could be interesting to you.
If not... and you like stories with an intricate plot, this may be just random brutal violence, and may be disappointing to you. You may still want to hang on for Outrage Beyond, because as Kitano himself had said, the sequel to this movie is more oriented for entertainment, and has a relatively... well, 'poetic justice' should I say, type of story.
Instead, get Sonatine, or his take on Zatoichi. Couple of masterful action numbers. Accomplished director, fine actor.
I remain a Takeshi Kitano fan.
The acting was good. Heck in a lot of ways you could have titled this Sopranos Japan! I don't do spoilers otherwise I would in detail praise the film more.
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If you’re a fan, check out Kitano’s flick “Brother”..., hilarious, it’s a keeper.