A question for you: how do you deal with contradictions in a director's filmography? The question becomes more complicated when talking about "workman" filmmakers like Japanese maverick Takashi Miike
or Johnnie To
(or, going back, of course, Howard Hawks
, Raoul Walsh
, William Wellman
, and the lesser known)—with such prodigious output, how do audiences, critics, and the artist-workers themselves understand the instances of one film project contradicting another?
How, in the case of To, do we talk about Election
and Triad Election
(a.k.a. Triad Election
)—critical indictments of violent genre cinema—when those films are followed up by Exiled
, which proceeds to indulge those very same conventions? Or, in the case of the director of the subject of this piece, how does one look at 2004's withering time traveling anti-violence treatise Izo
, and then see, several films later, 13 Assassins—as classical or old fashioned a samurai film as there ever was?