Fighting Elegy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fighting Elegy Reviews

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December 14, 2012
Utterly ridiculous, but so funny and poignant at the same time.
December 13, 2012
An appropriately mock-heroic/epic account of paramilitary/fascist training/education/repression, that turns serious in the end. Evidently Tarantino stole a lot from it for Kill Bill (which is a worse film), naturally missing the point. Compare with Fight Club and The White Ribbon(!).
½ May 2, 2012
I could not find fault with this film. Everything just felt so perfectly inappropriate! Consistently hilarious throughout, and full of little surprises. Plus the final scenes in the snow are gorgeous. The only part that escapes me completely is the ending?

This has got to be one of Suzuki's best films, and with every film of his I see my respect for him rises significantly.
½ January 11, 2012
Another great film from Suzuki.
September 30, 2011
Fighting Elegy is an incredibly fun movie by one of Japan's most individualistic directors. With its tongue-in-cheek look at Japan during the 1930s and, to a lesser extent, the Japanese military, Suzuki allows the audience to view young men so caught up in the ideals of manliness that they struggle to become full individuals. Our hot blooded hero Kiroku channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage crazed violence!! This movie is a very entertaining blend of absurdity and realism. Loved it.
June 15, 2011
A coming of age story that has some inspired moments depsite the fact that it never quite comes together, especially at its puzzling end.
½ May 16, 2010
another fun watch from suzuki in which a young man who resorts to violence in order to keep his sexual urges in check. suzukis films are always imperfect, but they are always so much fun that it really doesnt matter all that much.
½ October 30, 2009
Some of the stuff in here is really beautiful and some of it is really nuts, and all of it is captivating.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2009
this film had the makings of what could have been a great film, but it made a few vital errors. the main character had some major contradiction in his character, the telling of the story was unreasonably choppy, and the end of the film fell very flat. even with these major issues the film was very entertaining and had a strong likeable quality. the film missed out on a chance at an epic fight scene at the mid point that i wish suzuki would have followed through on, but all in all this is a good flick for casual viewing.
½ May 4, 2009
one of the more interesting suzuki films in terms of style and plot. there was a fair bit of quirk and called to mind what could be considered the seijun touch. however, this is definetely more slapstick and comedic than his other stuff.
January 3, 2009
Ha! Piano action! Ha! Not Suzuki's best
December 15, 2008
Suzuki seems to be ceaselessly brilliant. The scene where Kiroku is yelling Michiko's name outside her house and taking back the words, syllable by syllable. The scene in the classroom cutting back and forth between the rowdy boys and Kiroku and the professor. The scene at the end where Michiko's fingers break through the door pane and grab Kiroku's hand before she runs off. These are three scenes that will forever be burned into my mind every time I think about what great filmmaking is. How a director can take a seemingly simple story and make it into something utterly transcendent and, at the same time, still show a sense of humor. Goddamnit.
September 30, 2008
Coming of age flick mixed with slapstick comedy and action to become something pretty unique.
September 12, 2008
Let's get this out of the way at the outset. This Movie Makes No Sense. I can tell you what happened in it--Kiroku Nanbu (Hideki Takahashi) alternately beats people up and pines over the pious Michiko (Junko Asano). Why it happens is a little beyond me, though apparently, a greater knowledge of Japanese history would serve me better there. The story is apparently a leadup to true-life events in Japanese history of the 1930s, but if I hadn't known that, I wouldn't even have known that it was set in the 1930s. There is nothing, to the Western eye, to distinguish it from 1966, when it's set. I suppose traditional dress was less common at the time, but even there, I can't say for sure.

Usually, this is the paragraph in which I insert a plot summary, but I've given you about as much plot as I understand. I can tell you that Nanbu is originally staying with Michiko's family while he attends a military school. He's in love with her, but he's also in a militaristic gang that forbids contact with girls. His association with that gang gets him expelled and sent to another school, where he beats up even more people. It's all a complicated tapestry of beating people up and pining over a girl who isn't ever going to end up with him. And somehow, this ends up as part of an attempted coup. I couldn't begin to tell you how, but well.

The filming's not bad. I will say that. There's a sort of a strange bit where the film goes dark on one side and then the other as the students chant "Duck! Duck!" which I assume to be some sort of Japanese insult that I don't understand. Indeed, the teacher in question is later referred to as "Professor Duck." It's all very strange, but I think we've noticed this to be a theme in this movie. The shots of one of the larger fights leave me a bit startled that Nanbu isn't fighting alone. I thought he was, but he turns out to have this gang isntead. They're quite skilled, too, if you care about that sort of thing. I believe it's Nanbu himself who attempts to strangle someone with his feet and actually makes a pretty good go at it.

I don't really mind not understanding some movies. I don't really mind not understanding this one. It's submerging yourself into a new world, and it doesn't entirely matter if it's a world beyond your comprehension. Isn't that rather the point? I don't understand why it's so important to these boys that they eschew the company of women and disrespect the authority of their elders. I mean, military schools seem, in a lot of ways, to have a homoerotic component to them, as does any world of nothing but men or nothing but women. How much the worse because Nanbu [i]has[/i] Michiko to get involved with, but it's considered a show of weakness by the other boys? After all, isn't it considered awfully manly to have been involved with a [i]lot[/i] of women in many other circles?

Perhaps I ought to learn some more about Japanese culture if I'm going to keep watching these bizarre, obscure Japanese films. But I must say, I enjoy them. The films you've heard of give you a slice of a life that you expect, in a way--you know Kurosawa's point of view, for example, and you know that people are going to think and behave as people in Kurosawa films are wont to do. But in films by directors you're unfamiliar with, the characters think and behave in ways you're unfamiliar with, if it's a film made outside your own culture. Perhaps this is entirely normal for Japanese military academy boys of the 1930s. Perhaps not. But I have no way of knowing.
September 1, 2008
Another great film by Seijun Suzuki. This film is a satire on nationalism, religion, and machoism. The highly energetic style is very prevalent but it actually was much more comedic than most of Suzuki's work. A pretty great film.
½ July 14, 2008
Quirky and interesting movie.

Dense with undertones throughout a fast moving plot. Was confusing for me at points but pulls together with the ending.
July 8, 2008
The Japanese Dr. Strangelove, although with a more thoughtful ending. Suzuki preaches the superiority of humanism and relationships over lesser ideals, like religion and nationalism.

And the main character plays the piano with his dick.
May 6, 2008
The first movie I've seen that comes near Strangelovian territory and succeeds. Cinematic ideas/scene > 1.
½ February 26, 2008
This is brilliant, inspiring and hilarious at the same time. This satire of religion and fascism pulls no punches (literally), and its pastiche of a macho society works on every level. There's loads of knob gags too. One for all the family.
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