Cannes 2010 - Competition
In a ruthless battle for power, several yakuza clans vie for the favor of their head family in the Japanese underworld. The rival bosses seek to rise through the ranks by scheming and making allegiances sworn over saké. Their vengeful disputes over money, turf and betrayals are seldom settled without violence and death. Veteran yakuza henchman Otomo (Beat Takeshi) has seen his kind go from elaborate body tattoos and severed fingertips to becoming important players on the stock market. Theirs is a never-ending struggle to end up on top, or at least survive, in a world where there are no heroes... From the director of ZATOICHI, BROTHER and HANA-BI.
Beat Takeshi (as Otomo), Kippei Shiina (as Mizuno), Ryo Kase (as Ishihara), Tomokazu Miura (as Kato), Soichiro Kitamura (as Mr Chairman), Jun Kunimura (as Ikemoto), Tetta Sugimoto (as Ozawa), Renji Ishibasi (as Murase), Hideo Nakano (as Kimura), Fumiyo Kohinata (Detective Kataoka), Takashi Tsukamoto (as Iizuka)
... the Japanese multihyphenate's first such nihilistic bloodbath in the decade since "Brother" ... the results are so visually stunning ... Focusing on the absurdly ultraviolent tit-for-tat tussles among a trio of Tokyo crime families ... a beautifully staged marvel that confidently reasserts Kitano's considerable cinematic gifts ... "Outrage" boasts a narrative that's intricate only in linear fashion, to the likely benefit of worldwide B.O. ... "Outrage" satisfies that craving with its bevy of grisly setpieces, each carefully designed to bring the genre another step closer to horror.
Suffice to say the film isn't for the squeamish. The yakuzas' weapons of choice include not only pistols and machine guns but chopsticks, a coiled snake, dentists' equipment, and, most spectacularly, a dastardly combination of rope and automobile. The borderline farcical severity of bodily perforation here would be irredeemable if not for the finesse with which these moments are, um, executed by the director, who wields his own tools with the darkest glee ... The philosophical explorations of violence and its consequences, distinguishing features of Kitano's '90s work in the yakuza genre, are essentially nowhere to be found here. Still, the director's control over the narrative is drum-tight in a film whose intertwined incidents demand -- and reward -- one's close attention ... The film's large ensemble of actors takes palpable enjoyment in playing these toughs and their victims ... Tech credits are superlative, particularly Katsumi Yanagijima's gliding, often richly dark cinematography, Keiichi Suzuki's playfully synth-laden score, and a sound design that sends bullet casings hurling to the surround speakers while keeping the punches square in one's face.
Rob Nelson, VARIETY
As violent, amoral and misanthropic as a Jacobean play ... arguably his best film in a decade ... with the direct cinematic power of his early works ("A Violent Cop," "Sonatine"), though his style is less minimalist and characters less taciturn ... with humor as mean and dry as a straight-up martini ... individual nerve-tingling scenes of violence will make the film reach beyond Kitano's art house admirers to lovers of genre and noir films ... forceful in its simplicity and clarity of vision -- personal interest trumps any ties or pledges in the yakuza creed. Finger cutting occurs at every other scene, but they have lost their worth as rituals of honorable apology whereas the real violence is ignominious and each execution outdoes itself in cruelty. Kitano provokes viewers by designing violence that makes us giggle out of nervousness ...
Maggie Lee, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
His Yakuza films have always been amongst his most successful in international markets, and buyers will be happy to see Kitano back in the gangster market ... As one violent action is retaliated by an even more violent one, this triggers an orgy of killings, takeovers of territories and settling of accounts, in which promises, commitments, obligations or business ties are completely ignored, as each of the warriors in the field trying to manipulate or eliminate the competition. In the ensuing free-for-all, no one is safe, from the most insignificant soldiers to the highest echelons, while the law, far too corrupt to put a stop to it all, allows itself to be bribed and sits back, enjoying the show ... The plot, making no concessions, works like a perfectly tuned homicidal machine and all its characters are despicable villains ... Impeccably shot and cut, with clever sound design enhancing the violence, the images rush impetuously ahead, stressing the hard lines of a perfectly ordered world, almost antiseptic in its shining brilliance, a clean bright world, strangely unmoved and unconcerned with the Yakuzas who race through it, frenetically driven in black limousines which more often than not end by being their own coffins.
Dan Fainaru, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL