'Agitator' may not be as amazing as Miike's three 2001 classics, but it's still a very good movie, solidly directed and well acted.
Takashi Miike's reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative directors in the world continues to grow as more of his work becomes available outside Japan on DVD. 2001 was without a doubt a watershed year for him, seeing the release of 'Visitor Q', 'Ichi The Killer' and 'The Happiness Of The Katakuris'. Each one of them was very different in style and content but each in its own way was astonishing. To think that one man could make all three in the same year blows your mind, but when you see he also made OTHERS, well I'm almost speechless... 'Agitator' is one of those other 2001 projects, and (of course) it's nothing like the aforementioned. Viewers who love say 'Fudoh: The New Generation' or 'Ichi The Killer' might find 'Agitator' a bit too slow and conventional, but those who are familiar with any of his moody Shinjuku Triad Society trilogy ('Shinjuku Triad Society', 'Rainy Dog', 'Ley Lines') will feel right at home. The movie is a bit of an epic, dealing with power struggles among crime families after one of their leaders dies, and strongly features themes of loyalty and betrayal. This is familiar Miike territory, but 'Agitator' doesn't include any of surreal interludes or zany ultra-violence of some of his more notorious work, so newcomers should perhaps look elsewhere for a first taste (I suggest 'Fudoh: The New Generation'). However, if like me you are hooked, and are dying to watch any Miike movie you can get your hands on, you won't be disappointed. It may not be as amazing as his three 2001 classics, but it's still a very good movie, solidly directed and well acted.
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