Takeshi Kitano’s long-awaited return to the Yakuza genre

Outrage comes with ouches. First up, a too-blunt Stanley knife trying – and failing – to cut off a finger tip. Wince at that and you may want to call a time out before continuing to the dental-drill torture, meat-cleaver trauma and the chopsticks rammed into ear canals.It’s fair to say that Takeshi Kitano’s long-awaited return to the Yakuza genre, his first crime flick since Brother over a decade ago, isn’t afraid of using extreme violence as its calling card.

Unabashedly designed to rekindle Kitano’s floundering career, Outrage harks back to his lauded ’90s classics Sonatine and Hana-Bi, taking a U-turn from his recent arthouse self-indulgences like Takeshis. It’s nothing his fans haven’t seen before: po-faced, middle-aged men in crumpled suits sitting around airless offices, smoking, shouting and impassively butchering one another with kitchen utensils.

At its heart is a turf war between two Yakuza families that escalates from a petty bitch-slap into carnage so brutal, you wonder how mob boss Sekiuchi (Kitamura Soichiro) and his ruthless subordinates (headed by Kitano himself) make a profit after medical and funeral expenses – let alone cleaning bills. Despite meditating on the bankruptcy of the Yakuza code of brotherhood (short version: money and power trump honour every time), Outrage works best as a blackly comic take on the genre’s exploitative violence. Kitano approaches the assault and battery with unreserved glee: chopped-off fingers in a noodle kitchen end up in some poor sap’s veggie ramen; while one slapstick sequence redefines death by automobile. It’s totally outrageous. But then the title does give fair warning…

Film Details

  • 18
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: November 14th 2011
  • Genre

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