Oh come on now, you really shouldn’t have made such incredible films Mr Seijun Suzuki. My constant buzzing and face of awe makes it hard to concentrate on normal life stuff. My mind wanders off, all day thinking about the pure wonder and excitement that greeted me on the screen. Tokyo Drifter had always been one of my favorite films, it’s just so damn bloody cool but then I got recommended Branded To Kill, well it couldn’t be as good as Tokyo Drifter, that would be impossible, wouldn’t it, surely?
Sheeeet I don’t know, I’m torn, oh man it so good, I’m going to call it a no score draw. I can’t separate them and what’s more, they are both very cleverly, different. Well yeah they are both about the Yakuza, with similar themes but the styles mark strong different approaches to the creative spirit of the design. Where Drifter hits that beautiful, bright technicolour artistic flare throughout, Branded unleashes its superpowers in sweet noir black and white images, like snaps shots fired from a smoking gun. The photography and cinematography techniques are so artful and creative that it’s just plain ridiculous. Every single frame could be blown up full sized to plaster your house from floor to ceiling with the coolest posters you could ever hope to purchase. And you know what, again this isn’t just style over substance, as the story unfolds, its pure flair and perfection surround with surreal visuals.
Again this is another reason to shout from the rooftops, this is the whole reason I love film so much, seeing masterful creations like these is purely what it’s all about. That injection of adrenaline as you realise straight from the opening frames to the last spin of the reel, that everything you love about watching movies has just playout before your very eyes.
To say too much about the story would just spoil it, I’ll do a quick run down of the basics and a few observations but do go and treat yourself if you haven’t seen it. That is of course if you like the sound of gangster movies under the guise of an experimental, avant garde, modern art project.
Chipmunked* faced hitman Gorô Hanada (Jô Shishido) channels all his cheek power in a Godfather Brando fashion as he is about to have the biggest test of his hitman life. When ever he feels a little down or unloved he has to power up with his quirky kink, to bury his face into freshly boiled rice, to inhale the white stuffs smell.
Goro, an experienced marksman on every account is the Yakuza’s third ranked hitman but with an unfortunate turn of events his life is about to spiral in bizarre ways. Not helped by the introduction of an incredibly beautiful but strange and batty fruit cake siren Annu Mari (Misako Nakajô). A looney lady with a obsession for butterflies and dead animals. Can Goro keep it all together and hold on to his number 3 spot on the hitman podium and can he show off his love making skills in obscure places?
- * I read that Jô Shishido actually got his face reconstructed to achieve that bizarre and strange look! I guess if Kim Kardashian can get her ass done then what’s stopping you going full Alvin!
- Look out for the wonderful scene using the classic British car the 1952 Morris Minor plus there’s an absolutely gorgeous 1959 Chrysler Saratoga.
- The sex scenes are bonkers, I don’t believe I’ve seen anything quite like it with a 60’s Japanese film. And Goro’s wife Mami (Mariko Ogawa) appears naked most of the time and it’s no bad thing.
- In a superb scene I smiled as I realised director Jim Jarmusch had homaged a sequence involving a sink and it’s plumbing in his 1999 film, one of my favorites of his I must add, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
Come the monthly watch round up and me putting my wolfman rating, you just know this is going to hit full marks, to be honest it smashed it right out the park straight into the stratosphere. I seriously can’t wait to get some more Seijun Suzuki movies under my belt.
Thanks for popping on by the wolf den. Till the next time, sayonara.