9 user 29 critic

Ley Lines (1999)

Nihon kuroshakai (original title)
A group of Chinese youths living in Japan struggle to make their way in life and eventually find trouble with the local crime syndicate.



1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rainy Dog (1997)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Japanese assassin stranded in Taiwan must take work from a local crime boss to make ends meet when suddenly a woman from his past delivers a son to him.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Li Wei Chang, Shih Chang
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Amidst a Chinese and Japanese mafia war, a lawyer for the Chinese mob finds a rift forming between him and his corrupt police office brother.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Kippei Shîna, Tomorowo Taguchi, Takeshi Caesar
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Noriko Aota
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Violent gangster movie with a Brazilian protagonist.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Teah, Michelle Reis, Kôji Kikkawa
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A barkeeper saves a Yakuza boss' life and thus makes his way up in the organization. However his fear of nothing soon causes problems.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Narimi Arimori, Yoshiyuki Daichi, Hirotarô Honda
Dead or Alive (1999)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A yakuza of Chinese descent and a Japanese cop each wage their own war against the Japanese mafia. But they are destined to meet. Their encounter will change the world.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Renji Ishibashi
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In order to settle a business dispute, a mob leader murders one of his own teenage sons. The surviving son vows to avenge his brother's death, and organizes his own gang of teenage killers to destroy his father's organization.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shôsuke Tanihara, Miho Nomoto, Tamaki Kenmochi
Agitator (2001)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A fearless Yakuza captain's loyalty is tested as two ambitious underbosses attempt a takeover of both his clan and a rival Yakuza gang.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Taisaku Akino, Mickey Curtis, Yoshiyuki Daichi
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When his beloved boss is killed, a dangerous young gangster cuts a path of vengeance through the Japanese mafia.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Riki Takeuchi, Ryôsuke Miki, Ken'ichi Endô
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Renji Ishibashi, Mako
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The ace cop of a totalitarian police force and a drifting android play their parts in a post-apocalyptic society. They are destined to fight. Their encounter will change them forever.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Maria Chen, Richard Chen
Full Metal Yakuza (Video 1997)
Comedy | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An inexperienced gangster is killed alongside his strong, respected boss and awakens to find a mad scientist has given him a new body made partly of his boss and partly of indestructible bionics.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Tomorowo Taguchi, Takeshi Caesar


Credited cast:
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Dan Li ...
Anita / Chinese prostitute
Michisuke Kashiwaya ...
Samuel Pop Aning ...
Shô Aikawa ...
Far-Long Oh ...
Anita's Pimp
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Takeshi Caesar
Yukie Itou
Yôzaburô Itô ...
Anita's sadistic client
Ryûshi Mizukami
Ren Ohsugi ...
Junkyard Owner (as Ren Ôsugi)
Shun Sugata ...
Kôji Tsukamoto ...
Passport Official


A group of Chinese youths living in Japan struggle to make their way in life and eventually find trouble with the local crime syndicate.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 May 1999 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Ley Lines  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Follows Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The final instalment of Miike's Black Society Trilogy; one of his best
9 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The final part of Takashi Miike's loosely structured "Black Society Trilogy" is an incredibly effective film; one that occasionally suffers from the more adolescent moments of shock and spectacle presented in films such as Dead or Alive (1999) and Ichi the Killer (2001), but one that also manages to ultimately overcome such limitations through the combined quality of the script and the performances. Like the other two films in the trilogy, Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) and Rainy Dog (1997), Ley Lines (1999) focuses on ideas of cultural and spatial disconnection, exile, family and the need to escape. It also exists within the same murky environment, populated by gangsters, pimps, prostitutes and lowlifes, all struggling to survive by whatever means necessary. Though at times incredibly brutal - and featuring one scene that really pushes the levels of taste and decency beyond that of the aforementioned Dead or Alive - there is, nonetheless, a strong sense of humour to the film, and a genuine sense of warmth that is expressed through the four central characters and their position as outcasts within a harsh and ultimately destructive world. It also establishes one of Miike's other recurring themes, that of the importance of family; with characters disconnected from their original families and displaced from society, coming together and forming their own makeshift family-unit with a shared goal of escaping Japan for the potential dream of happiness waiting elsewhere.

It is this central strand of the narrative that defines the film - establishing the background of the characters and the circumstances offered to them in this particular violent underworld - as Miike juxtaposes the more abrasive scenes of gun-play and sexual violence alongside more reflective moments of character and drama. If you're familiar with some of Miike's other films, in particular Birds (2000) and the aforementioned Rainy Dog, then you will be accustomed to this particular stylistic contrast; as the director veers wildly from a shoot-out scene in an alleyway, to a scene of the kids riding their scooters around Tokyo. Moments like this are given an even greater feeling of intimacy and warmth through the use of hand-held cinematography, colour filters and a largely accordion led soundtrack, which establishes quieter moments of transcendence and beauty to punctuate the more shocking instances of violence and brutality. These moments show Miike's true worth as a filmmaker, bringing to mind the sublime beauty of a film like The Bird People of China (1998) with the emphasis placed continually on moments of character; as well as adding a greater depth to the more violent scenes, which simply reinforce the bond between these central characters and their urgent need to escape.

The power of the characters on both sides of the struggle here, win out; making the elements of human drama ultimately more rewarding, and the moments of violence simply adding to this; reinforcing our connection to the characters and the oppression that threatens to destroy them. By the end of the film we're rooting for their escape and their victory over these warring gangs' intent on maintaining the status quo. However, as the film approaches its climax, Miike begins breaking down the elements of reality even further; obscuring the image with dark red colour filters and fragmented compositions, as well as suggesting certain elements of dream logic. As a result, the ending of the film is somewhat enigmatic. Nonetheless, it does tie together the overall themes of the film perfectly, whilst simultaneously suggesting so much more about those continuing ideas of cultural and geographical displacement and the journey that began when both of these characters decided to leave home. Although it isn't an easy film to view, given the often controversial depiction of sexual violence and some of Miike's more jaw-dropping cinematic touches, including those infamous moments of self-censorship, the overall feeling that we are left with as the credits appear is entirely overwhelming.

Ley Lines is certainly a controversial and inscrutable work - very much in tune with films like Rainy Dog, Birds and the epic Agitator (2001) with the continual themes of violence, loyalty, family and dislocation

  • but one that also manages to move the viewer on an emotional level;

eliciting sympathy and understanding for these characters, as well as provoking more immediate reactions that still linger, long after the film has ended. The cast is incredibly varied, featuring a strong mixture of talented new comers like Kazuki Kitamura, Michisuke Kashiwaya and Dan Li, alongside Miike regulars like Tomorowo Taguchi, Naoto Takenaka, Kôji Tsukamoto and the iconic Sho Aikawa. The combination of these bold, affecting and naturalistic performances, combined with the heavily colour-filtered images that employ Miike's regular trademark of spontaneous filming on the streets of Shinjuku, lend the film an intimacy and a sense of urgency that is all the more relevant when we think of the central themes of the story. If you're familiar with Miike's work beyond the more widely seen trio of Dead or Alive, Audition and Ichi the Killer, then Ley Lines is a definite one to watch. With this film, Miike creates a bold and incredibly interesting work that manages to skilfully juggle between moments of brutality and tranquillity, character and action, comedy and drama; while carefully blending them together into a cohesive and ultimately incredibly moving whole.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ending k-a-w-a-d-a
Favourite? madmike909
Tolulence? rachel_matt4
Censored Language lukejordan02
Discuss Ley Lines (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: