Pistol Opera (2002)
Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 19
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 4
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Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 2,275
Japanese cult director Seijun Suzuki's combination sequel to and remake of his 1967 gangster film classic Branded To Kill stars Makiko Esumi as Miyuki Minazuki, AKA "the Stray Cat," a beautiful female assassin. She is number three in the hierarchy of killers in her criminal organization at the beginning of the film, but soon a battle breaks out among the assassins, all of whom are trying to become the number one killer by murdering their competition. Miyuki finds herself fighting her fellow
Jan 1, 2001 Wide
Jun 24, 2003
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I couldn't give a fully coherent synopsis of Pistol Opera if my life depended on it, but it's still the most fun new movie I've seen since Mulholland Drive and Waking Life (both also 2001).
Eighty-year-old Japanese director Suzuki Seijun has always been a gifted master stylist, and Pistol Opera shows that his unique vision has not dulled with age.
Nothing in Pistol Opera ever seems remotely possible, but it's still gorgeous art -- like a dream David Lynch had after watching too many John Woo movies.
There's style and panache to spare.
Suzuki has made the ultimate meta-movie, a self-parodying, surrealist gangster daydream as intoxicating and insubstantial as an absinthe swoon.
The screen is artfully covered like the abstract paintings by Jackson Pollock and Man Ray.
While it's certainly enjoyable to see this old master up to his tricks again, and the film stands perfectly well on its own, the cinematic high jinks of the 80-year-old director don't quite live up to the reputation he created for himself 36 years ago.
Though extraordinarily simplistic at its core, Suzuki's directorial style is so chock-full of vigor and passion for his craft that it spills into Pistol Opera, allowing the flick to carve out its own niche.
The director's gaudy approach to his individual frames begs for a deeper meaning that you're going to have to bring to the table yourself.
Stylish but obtuse. Charitably, we might try to think of 'Pistol Opera' as the 'Tampopo' of killing people.
Seijun is helped enormously by Makiko Esumi, a dazzling beauty who delivers a flinty, self-assured performance as Stray Cat.
A strange tale that ultimately achieves a level of abstraction entirely divorced from any conventional mode of storytelling.
What counts isn't the convoluted plot or exotic characters -- it's the brilliance of Suzuki's cinematic style, articulating the action with eye-boggling color and split-second editing effects.
Pistol Opera is unique for sure, it just never made me want to follow it down its strange path.
Whereas Kill was uproariously stylish via pop-noir, Opera goes in the opposite direction by concentrating much more on color, choreography, and composition than any kind of conventional narrative.
Whether more is pompously suggested than actually here and merely meets the eye, Pistol Opera is fun in the grand style.
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