Saturday, June 13, 2009

the yakuza

not an obligation; a burden...


harry kilmer (robert mitchum) returns to japan, where he lived for many years after the war, when the daughter of friend is kidnapped. staying with a friend who never left japan, wheat (herb edelmen), kilmer visits eiko (keiko kishi); an old flame, whose refusal to marry he has never gotten over, and asks her to put him in touch with her brother, tono (ken tanaka). tono is an ex-yakuza who, despite his strained relationship with harry, agrees to help. and so, harry, wheat and tono set out to find the kidnapped girl, as their past and present unwinds in front of them...

apparently paul schrader and his brother spent plenty of time in japan and watched a good selection of yakuza eiga (cinema), which inspired them to write the script. sydney pollack takes the directorial reigns and creates a film that works well as a yakuza film, a thriller and a look at the, what was then, a look at a culture that was very foreign to the west.

watching it, as someone who is more familiar with japanese yakuza cinema, the film is still very enjoyable and is much better than i expected it to be. mitchum is pretty great, as is ken tanaka; and the lack of exoticism or, at least, the playing up of it, adds to the strength. what you get is a decent thriller, with a strong yakuza flavour.

good stuff...

the dvd is £2.99 from hmv.com

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, dan - where's all the words?

dandan said...

words...

the words shall return, but for now, i'm just cataloguing, so i don't forget what i've watched...