8/10
Challenging, but fun-loving and very entertaining
26 February 2018
The film that got master filmmaker Seijun Suzuki fired from his production company for being "incomprehensible." Joke's definitely on them given Branded to Kill is now considered a classic of Japanese cinema and one of the best of its era. This film was truly ahead of its time for a number of reasons: experimental editing, untraditional narrative structure, blatant surrealism, and heavily stylized direction. It's one of those films that succeeds at the difficult task of being both challenging and flat-out fun, never taking itself too seriously despite being highly artistic. It may not always be clear exactly what's going on, but I think people often fail to appreciate that with a film like this that's part of the appeal - it adds to the bizarre nature of the film and allows for scenes that wouldn't be possible if not for the dream-logic approach. Suzuki manages to serve up unique and memorable sequences one after the other and there are a few super well-executed and entertaining action sequences. He and his crew clearly had a lot of fun making this film and, despite its challenging and avant-garde qualities, that fun-loving approach is infectious and translates beautifully.

Strong 4/5
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