Graveyard of Honor (Jingi no hakaba) (Death of Honor) (1975)
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Critic Reviews for Graveyard of Honor (Jingi no hakaba) (Death of Honor)
Audience Reviews for Graveyard of Honor (Jingi no hakaba) (Death of Honor)
A full on masterpiece. Fukasaku shows his main character as something akin to a mad dog, killing and raping as he pleases. He's a certifiable sociopath. What adds to the films greatness is it's portrayal of the yakuza, though comprised of criminals, still tries to remain honourable, but the fact that they rely on people willing to kill for money, honour is an idiotic notion. Watch back to back with Miike's great remake.
As a fan of director Fukasaku, this was not nearly as great as I'd hoped it to be. The story, although setup as documentary-styled non-fiction, comes off as sort of cartoonish and almost crosses the line of being irritating in some scenes. My main problem with the film is the lack of character even with the story centering around one man. It makes it rather difficult to feel for the victims along the way. Then there are the wacky diagonal camera angles that would be welcomed in Batman: The Movie (1966) but eventually become a distraction in a supposedly "balls out" crime drama. It does gain some points for showcasing Japan's decadent underworld of drugs, murders for hire, and prostitution lifestyle during the post-war era. Some yakuza fans will no doubt be entertained, but others might be less interested in this story.
Another sensationalist yakuza movie from Kinji (Battle Royale) Fukasaku, it charts the career of a Tokyo hoodlum in the 1940s. An interesting historical backdrop makes for a slightly different spin on the material, the streets ruled by rival gangs exploiting the poverty of everyday people using the resources of occupying GIs and warring with Japanese hating recent prison camp interns. The synopsis makes the story sound like an Eastern version of The Godfather, but the treatment of the material is far more like an exploitation flick, with constant violence, bloodshed, sex and drug abuse. The result is that Tetsuya Watari's character comes across as completely unsympathetic; just a violent, self-centred thug and because the direction is far more interested in sensationalism than characterisation, you never feel you get to know the man or his motives. There are moments of brilliance, but a more restrained and subtle approach could've made for a far superior film. Definitely worth checking out for fans of exploitation flicks though.
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