SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: OUTRAGE BEYOND

OUTRAGE BEYOND review for the Sydney Film Festival by Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev

OUTRAGE BEYOND is part of the Sydney Film Festival and will have it’s final festival screening tomorrow, FRI June 7 at 830pm at Dendy Opera Quays– tickets can be purchased HERE. Be sure to check out the entire program for the SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL HERE.

Outrage Beyond (Autoreiji Biyondo) is a 2012 Japanese yakuza film directed by legendary Japanese actor / director Takeshi Kitano. It is also the sequel to Kitano’s “Outrage” filmed in 2010.

 

OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF
OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF

 

I have been a fan of Kitano’s since seeing the simply brilliant “Hana-bi” in 1998 and since this brief introduction into his hard boiled subtle directing, editing and writing style, have been a big fan. He followed up the worldwide success of “Hana-bi” with “Brother”, “Zatoichi” (a rare but brilliant dalliance into the story of a blind samurai), “Outrage” and now its sequel. I encourage anyone with a passing interest in gangster movies to give them a look.

From a long-time fan’s perspective “Outrage Beyond” is definitely his most subtle, ironic, but also brutal and violent look into the world of the Yakuza. As always Kitano writes, directs, edits and acts reprising his lead role as Otomo, the head of a once prestigious Yakuza clan brought low by a traitor from the inside Isihara (Ryo Kase), who has now become an advisor to the Sanno Clan. The Underworld after the proceedings of “Outrage” has given Otomo up for dead. Not to give too much of the plot away for “Outrage”, the previous film, his death was faked by the authorities and he was instead sent to prison for a 10 year stint (if memory serves). During his absence two other crime families have basically swallowed the Underworld. An uneasy truce exists between them. There is uneasiness as the last head of the Sanno family, Sekiuchi, died under mysterious circumstances and all fingers point (but in whispers) to the current head and the old bosses’ bodyguard.

 

OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF
OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF

 

Free from the violence, the enforced rules of the Yakuza system, and in some sense strangling tradition, Otomo, it seems, has forgotten about his past life, at least it gives the appearance that this is the case.  This prison life is interrupted by a visit from Detective Kataoka (Fumiyo Kohinata), a member of the Organised Crime Squad and a cop with “shady” dealings with the Underworld. Corrupt would not be nuanced enough, self-serving pragmatist may be better. Kataoka has ideas about how to destroy the stranglehold of the Sanno and Hanabishi (although coincidentally being quite cozy with both) and needs Otomo’s help. Kataoka suggests that he, upon release, should do something about the current state of affairs. Offering to get him an early release and in a sense throwing a loose element into the staid order. After all he points out to Otomo his enemies are profiting from his absence. Otomo after his typical indifference accepts and is welcomed back curiously as an ally to both families.  However it soon becomes clear that he is no longer bound by the strict codes of the Yakuza. He soon drops all pretences and sets in motion a chain of events that will destroy both worlds. I won’t spoil the story too much more. It is much more subtle and involved than all that.

OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF
OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF

 

Perhaps to a casual observer this is a movie about the traditions of the Yakuza and the story of men that live under it. But in reality Kitano as writer and director is taking a subtle stab at the very notion of the Yakuza and in essence the Yakuza film which is so popular. Think Tarantino washed through a more subtle Asian lens, rather than revel in the nature of these men. Kitano makes his characters subtle, likeable, and at the same time repellent. He makes Otomo likeable and indeed personable then switches gears to show his hyper violent nature which takes no prisoners.

 

OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE POSTER
OUTRAGE BEYOND MOVIE FOR SFF

 

Many may feel put off by the slow pace of the dialogue but I think Kitano handles this masterfully. Showing the irony between a world steeped in tradition which quickly descends into violence when the surface veneer of civility is breeched to any extent. The soundtrack, mostly of slowly feed backing guitar is perfect, Keiichi Suzuki should be given a lot of credit as it fits the mood perfectly, giving an underlying unsettling air to the whole proceedings. Credit for the artistic direction and washed out cinematography (Norihiro Isoda and Katsumi Yanagijima respectively) which work hand in glove with the all the elements.

It is a shame that Western audiences seem to only have patience for Tarantino who has made a fortune off lifting Asian crime into the Western world. But if you enjoy a bit of a subtle approach to this kind of thing or are interested in the Yakuza this one is for you.

 

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