Sonatine

  • 1994
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Crime, Drama

Where do old gangsters go to die? To the seaside, if one is to believe this bleakly pensive crime picture by Japanese cultural phenomenon "Beat" Takeshi Kitano. Yakuza big man Kitajima (Tonbo Zushi) sends his trusted, middle-age underboss Murakawa (Kitano) to the resort town of Okinawa to settle some petty internecine warfare. Murakawa gathers up a bunch...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Where do old gangsters go to die? To the seaside, if one is to believe this bleakly pensive crime picture by Japanese cultural phenomenon "Beat" Takeshi Kitano. Yakuza big man Kitajima (Tonbo Zushi) sends his trusted, middle-age underboss Murakawa

(Kitano) to the resort town of Okinawa to settle some petty internecine warfare. Murakawa gathers up a bunch of young guns and does as he's told, but suspects there's more to the assignment than meets the eye. Is he being set up? After Murakawa and his henchmen are ambushed, they retreat to the

beachfront home of a local yakuza and spend a few weirdly idyllic days horsing around by the sea, wondering when real life will intrude. Hugely praised on its initial release, this 1993 film is opening in the U.S. (courtesy of Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Pictures) after the more recent

FIREWORKS. The difference in Kitano's appearance is shocking -- this film was shot before Kitano was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident, while FIREWORKS was made afterward -- but his sly, acid-tipped sense of humor and melancholy twists on genre conventions remain the same. The picture's

uneasy but perfectly calibrated mix of brutal violence and goofy humor is pure Kitano -- the scenes in which Murakawa and his henchmen play a variation on "Rock'em Sock'em Robots" with paper sumo wrestlers is just too bizarre -- and its convulsively nihilistic ending is unforgettable.

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  • Released: 1994
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Where do old gangsters go to die? To the seaside, if one is to believe this bleakly pensive crime picture by Japanese cultural phenomenon "Beat" Takeshi Kitano. Yakuza big man Kitajima (Tonbo Zushi) sends his trusted, middle-age underboss Murakawa (Kitano… (more)

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