During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
The melancholy, homely Kamimura is a hit man who takes a job to kill a mob boss who's gotten greedy. The rival gang lord who hires Kamimura and his driver Shun pays them and sets them up in a hotel for a night while arranging safe passage on a ship. The son of the dead man comes to his rival and offers a partnership and cash in exchange for Kamimura's death. The boss considers his choice: morals or money? A maid at the hotel tries to aid the escape of Kamimura and Shun. As the two gangs close in, Kamimura chooses honor. Will his stoicism be his shroud?Written by
Entertaining trans-cultural fusion noir with a great title
Like most of the other reviewers, I was struck by the similarities between this Japanese crime thriller, clearly modeled after 1950's American film noir, and Sergio Leone's iconic 'spaghetti' westerns. Briefly, hitman Shuji Kamimura (Joe Shishido) and his assistant Shun Shiozaki (Jerry Fujio) are hired to assassinate a yakusa boss only to be betrayed by their employer. On the run, they hole up in a seedy hotel, where Kamimura attracts the eye of former mob moll Mina (Chitose Kobayashi) who agrees to user her connections in the local merchant fleet to help them escape. The mob closes in and Kamimura has to make some tough decisions. Joe Shishido is very good in an atypical way as the impassive contract killer, as is the rest of the cast (especially Kobayashi), and the story moves along at a brisk pace to a satisfyingly bloody conclusion. The black and white cinematography is striking and, while the look is pure noir, the score is an unusual (but effective) mix of discordant jazz (typical of period crime thrillers) and music that is clearly an imitation of (or homage to) Ennio Marricione's iconic spaghetti-western themes. The climatic shoot-out, despite being fought between dapper Japanese gangsters, could have come from a '60's anti-hero western, with a stark landfill site substituting for the desert and choreographed gunplay featuring a variety of weapons and a number of ways to die. This was my introduction to the Japanese crime film (having run out of kaiju and tokusatsu films) and I was equally entertained and impressed and look forward to watching other films in the canon (many of which, I have noticed, have equally evocative titles).
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