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Yukio Mishima torn between yakuza life and the loyalty of a woman who loves him
This Japanese noir gets better as it goes along and grows on you too. It has very good cinematography and colors, but what it has most is a number of amazing scenes and characterizations. The story itself is unusual. It's about a young yakuza in a tiny 3-man gang who is the target of an assassin of a much larger gang. His relationships with women are to treat them as toys or things to use and discard, there being no room in the yakuza life depicted here for close family. This just makes them vulnerable. However, when a young woman falls for him and is unafraid of him, he begins to see other possibilities than the yakuza life.
Mishima, who was a novelist not an actor, does a reasonable enough job portraying his character.
Among remarkable scenes are the opening in Tokyo prison involving a brazen murder, a fantastic musical song about a banana, a rape scene, a sequence involving abortion, the finale, a scene involving the big godfather, and scenes with an asthmatic assassin. The other amazing thing is that the protagonist is by no stretch of the imagination a sympathetic person. There is almost no softening of his character as was done with Marlon Brando's in "The Wild One", at least not until the film nears its conclusion. The negatives of the yakuza life are brought out.
The boldness of the film makes it memorable and why I rate it above average.
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