A world-weary yakuza in Tokyo is assigned to take his clan to Okinawa to help settle a dispute between two factions. He's suspicious of the assignment, but he goes, and within a couple days, his role remains unclear and several of men are dead. He retreats to a house on a remote beach to wait. The first night there , he rescues a young woman from an assault, and they develop a playful relationship. Over time, it becomes clear he's been set up, sent to Okinawa so that others can take over his lucrative territory. As his clan dwindles, he plans a revenge. But, what if he's successful? What is there to life anyway?Written by
Another brilliant movie from Beat Takeshi. Slow, poetic, beautiful, minimalistic, thoughtful, and yes, occasionally extremely violent.
Beat Takeshi movies are without doubt an acquired taste. Newcomers to them, presumably expecting some kind of flashy, gun happy, John Woo-style "action" movie, are often shocked because they are the complete opposite to most Hong Kong cops'n'robbers movies. Slow, atmospheric and character driven, they really make you WORK. Things are not handed to you on a plate all neatly packaged, and generally it's what is NOT said and shown which counts. And yes, they are violent, but only intermittently. Takeshi lulls you into a false sense of security with his stunning visuals and thoughtful character studies and then WHAM, when you least expect it, we get violence, REAL violence. With consequences. The best Takeshi movie I have seen is 'Hana-bi' but 'Sonatine' comes a very close second. Takeshi stars as the kind of character he often plays, an ageing, dissatisfied man. Sometimes he's a cop, this time he's a yakuza. But he basically plays variations on the same "type". And let's face it, he does it very, very well. Takeshi also wrote, directed and edited this wonderful movie. A very impressive feat! If you aren't familiar with his style, this might be a good place to start. Leave your expectations at the door, and I'm sure you will be impressed. The supporting cast, many of whom are Takeshi regulars, are uniformly excellent (and may I say that Aya Kokumai is a real hottie?), but it's Takeshi himself who really impresses as an actor as well as a film maker. Highly recommended, as is 'Hana-bi'. Two of the very best movies released in the last ten years. If Hollywood was this good!
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