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A divine master plan. Father (Seijun Suzuki), Son (Kensaku Watanabe) and the Holy Ghost (Masatoshi Nagase)
I'll start with no compromise: Loved Gun is one of the best movies of the last decade and I can *HARDLY* conceive a better film to be coming in the next years.
I talked about a divine master plan with 3 leads, let me explain:
The Father - Seijun Suzuki:
Suzuki is well known outside japan for his masterful works of the late '60 like Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifters, two unquestionable masterpieces that merge together highly inventive camera work, theatrical staging of duels, hyper-charismatic characters and solid script background with regular in-depths looks at human emotions and behavior under various circumstances. I can say with no exaggeration that Loved Gun is the natural consequence of all Suzuki's trademark, plus something else provided by...
The Son - Kensaku Watanabe:
This is truly the natural son of Seijun Suzuki's cinema, it was no surprise discover after watched this movie that he worked as assistant director in Suzuki's "Yumeji" which I'm dying to see now. This guy really know how to direct movies being INSPIRED by someone (Suzuki, of course) without IMITATING.
The "plus" I was telling above is both a question of style and substance:
Style: He brought the authentic theatrical and spectacular challenges
of Suzuki's movie to an higher level with camera works above the usual standard of modern movie-making, he transformed the stage in a multi layered place where the passions and emotions of the leads take the scene in a metaphysical way, challenging common laws of physics and nature in order to make the characters become they're own essence (I say only "BULLETS"...).
* (Youth) Alienation: this really remembered me about the beautiful Akihiko Shiota's "Harmful Insect" where, curiously, the lead is played again by the charming Aoi Miyazaki. Miyuki's portrait of stranded, lost and hopeless adolescent is a view both sad and romantic. The strange romantic feeling is brought by the meeting with killer Hayamada, a figure so distant but at the same time so close to her that creates a unique mood in the spectator: we can understand their feelings for each other and the worlds around, but all of this is presented in a such platonic way that brings an atmosphere both tender and incredibly tragical.
* Respect for the elder, conflict between old and new: well, this really surprised me for the way it was conceived and brought on screen. Taneda is a reckless youngster beginner killer of the newest generation that is forced to travel along with the respected, wise and elder Maruyama. This journey will become for Taneda the most important experience in his life, he will discover what is respect, honesty, reliability and trust: all values that most of the scoundrel newest generations don't ever know the meanings. Taneda is reluctant (even more..) of all these attributes that Maruyama seems to be the proudest bringer, traditions fall apart in the eyes of the young and the elder is only slightly scorned by this. Then something changes in the mind of the young, he realize that he can become the bright future that the grand elder will barely witness because of the age. Values in the world of killer is not nonsense as it seems, because of the human sides of the characters and we know that nobody is born with homicide instinct but are the circumstances in which one grows, and so we got to..
* Vengeance for love/hatred: You'll see lot of vengeance matters, I'll not spoil anything about the plot but only got a line to say: you'll probably know Park Chan-wook, a well known (and let me say, terrific) director that made vengeance movie one of his trademark. Unlike Park's movies in which vengeance is portrayed as a black maelstrom of unavoidable violence and unforgivable sins, Watanabe caught the pure essence of vengeance as an act of love between two man that both have something to be forgiven but they can't forgot, is a two-sided relief. This will be not the case of the little Miyuki as you'll see...
The Holy Ghost - Masatoshi Nagase
I say Masatoshi Nagase for he's the main lead, but believe me all the four leads are simply amazing:
Masatoshi Nagase is a passional mask of sadness and hatred, I could not conceive a better actor for this role. Aoi Miyazaki and Hirofumi Arai confirms themselves as the most talented Japanese actors of the new generations (along with Satoshi Tsumabuki and Ryuhei Matsuda), both personify perfectly two different sides of a misled youth. Ittoku Kishibe as a veteran actor is perfect too for the character of the elder Hayamada, clean and methodical, he's the perfect killer.
To conclude, this is an experience you'll never forget for the rest of your life, and personally this became my favorite all-time movie along with All About Lily Chou-Chou.
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