As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.
When the mobster Iwaida Nishikawi is executed by the hit man Takeshi, his family chases the killer. Takeshi's brothers Takashi and Hideshi Miwa try to find Takeshi, who is hidden with the ... See full summary »
This is one of my favourite Miike movies. Much as I love the OTT manga style, and the deadly serious yakuza movies, I've also been well impressed by the "normal" movies he's made. Critics who claim that he's manically weird and/or depraved are probably missing the comedy aspects of his crazier work. You could always wait ten years for Tintin Quarantino to do a washed out compilation hack job if you find Miike's sensibilities so abhorrent. For those capable of reading subtitles and chewing gum simultaneously, there's no need to wait that long.
Guys From Paradise is far from violent, almost obscenely decent, and wholly lacking in explosions and gratuitous gore. There's a couple of comedy masturbation scenes to frighten your granny, but apart from that it's the script and the performances which drive the movie and hold the interest.
It's a fine ensemble piece about differing perceptions of corruption and criminality, and nobody puts a foot wrong in nearly two hours. Some of the photography is nonchalantly extraordinary, and I too get the feeling that Miike respects the people and culture when he shoots outside Japan. One particular shot of Manilla at dusk from a decrepit shanty scrapyard is pure poetry. Great cinematography that never steals the thunder from the script.
As mentioned in other reviews, this makes a fine companion piece to Blues Harp and Bird People in China, and it makes a mockery of the claims that he's only good with shock tactics. If Miike is brutal, then this is a brutally uplifting, life affirming gem of a movie.
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