The profanity would make characters from Glengarry Glen Ross blush, though it works well because isnt forced or meant to represent more than it is: just cursing and ignorance. This is a film full of genuine emotions and relationships. Superbly acted and a fine effort of directing. A minor flaw was that it was a little too overt and on the nose especially with it's flashback scenes depicting the characters past; sometimes they felt like exposition that could've been presented in a more organic manner rather than being conventional using flashbacks. But the final few flashbacks work extremely well. The scenes right before the hospital scene and final scene in the street are excellent and brave, it left me winded as if I'd been hit in the stomach by one of Hang Soo's punches. Those additional scenes in the end could've been a little less sentimental, but it that point the film earns it and it does help tie up any loose ends. But for me, it would've been just as powerful if we, the audience, were left hanging like Hang Soo. I don't think the director needed to connect the dots as much as he did but again, it doesn't take away anything from the film and considering it's his first, I'll be looking forward to seeing what he does in his upcoming films.
Equals the brilliance of Memories of Murder, and in some ways even surpasses it. The performances of the lead actors bring the script to life and the cinematography captures it all beautifully, taking us through a journey which reveals the dark side of love and attachment. At least that's what I took away from this film which managed to put good and evil aside and focus soley on human emotion and primal behavior.
Smart, stylish, and even somewhat complex action flick that delivers a bit more than the usual Hollywood film of this sort. However, the obligatory fight scenes and needless bloodshed that is expected from any action film makes Zatoichi more conventional and formulaic than Kitano's earlier more acclaimed films. The bloodshed was tastefully done, I mean there was a lot, but it wasn't as repulsive as I thought it would be. I thoroughly enjoyed the comic bit where an unskilled Shinkichi tries to show off in front of 3 village boys and ends up hurting himself. In the end, the film isn't very profound or thought provoking, its a commercial action film that is very entertaining and a notch above the rest.
There are some very funny moments throughout this perverse film. The difference between this and films like Sonatine and Hana-bi would be that it plays out more aimlessly and pointlessly than those more mature and focused existential yakuza flicks. It is raw but still a worthwhile film and touches on many themes and interests that Kitano further explores in his later films.
Right up there with Hana-bi as far as Kitano's existential, oneiric modern-day yakuza flicks go. While Hana-bi was more linear, this film's greatest moments are not concerned with the plot at all. Those playful sequences on the beach are almost more surprising to see than any of the sudden violence that occurs in the film. A smart and stylish flick that offers many interesting characters apart from the lead (played by Kitano himself). The fireworks fight is one of the best things ever put on film.
A hidden gem if there ever was one, this film was a lot better than Nomura's Castle of Sand. I had no idea this film would play out like it did. Brilliant, mature work by Yoshitaro Nomura. Great performances by everyone, especially the children. Original, strange, perverse, very moving.
Complex story about love, lonliness, lust, and death. Fairly competent performances, but would've benefitted from better performances. Interesting, experimental and free camera work. The two women at the end reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. But this film falls short of that kind of brilliance.