A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.
After World War II, some Tokyo prostitutes band together with a strict code: no pimps, attack any street walker who comes into our territory, defend the abandoned building we call home, and... See full summary »
In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of ... See full summary »
The number-three-ranked hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, which puts him into conflict with a mysterious woman whose death wish inspires her to surround herself with dead butterflies and dead birds. Worse danger comes from his own treacherous wife and finally with the number-one-ranked hit-man, known only as a phantom to those who fear his unseen presence. Written by
When Nikkatsu studio executives saw the finished product, they thought it was too terrible to be released, so they shelved it. Director Seijun Suzuki along with others in the film business, film critics, and students protested in unfairness since by contract Nikkatsu was supposed to release the finished film theatrically. It went to court, with a ruling in favor of the director. Nikkatsu had to pay for damages and have the film released. Suzuki's contract with Nikkatsu was terminated, and with the bad reputation, was unable to work on a feature film for the next 10 years. See more »
Branded to Kill was the film that got Seijun Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu for finally crossing the line regarding his incomprehensible films which made no sense and made no money, but were nevertheless very expensive. Suzuki was blacklisted and didn't make another feature flick for 10 years, but at least he managed to successfully sue Nikkatsu studios.
Branded to Kill was made super-fast and super-cheap, with constant directorial improvisation which added to the movie's sense of complete anti-logic and confusion. This weird yakuza flick inspired many filmmakers and even composers, and has somewhat of a cult following. Suzuki's visual style is a cross between film noir, spy films, '60s pop art and kabuki theatre. A recurring theme in the film are dead butterflies which also appear in a weird animated hallucinatory scene. For its age, Branded to Kill is very sexually charged and provocatively violent compared to movies from the West.
Suzuki's distinct style is a love it or hate it thing. Personally, I disliked this movie for being just too confusing, all over the place and forgettable, with half the screen time being wasted on a terrible script, extremely bland characters and filler material. The first 30 minutes are interesting and actually kept me interested, but the gimmick grows old fast and I was begging for the movie to end in no time.
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