Cannes Review: Beat Takeshi's Japanese Mobster Film Outrage
by Alex Billington
May 18, 2010
A few days ago I watched my first Takeshi Kitano film. I'm not sure why I haven't seen any of his previous films (he's directed quite a few), but I was excited to check out his newest Cannes entry Outrage, a modern Japanese mobster film that's literally just two hours of yakuza yelling at each other and killing each other in brutal ways. But I'm now a Takeshi Kitano, or Beat Takeshi (as they call him in Japan), fan because I dug the hell out of this film. It's one of those totally badass Japanese mobster flicks that anyone can kick back and watch with friends and totally enjoy just because it's so damn crazy. There's not much to it, but it's great.
Without any dialogue or a voiceover or anything, we learn that there are numerous crime families that rule most of the Japanese underworld. They're governed by honor and respect and at the top is the "Chairman," as he's called, who cannot be touched. We follow the story of one Ikemoto crime family that gets into a fight with another family after one of his henchmen spends a lot at a club and can't pay the bill. We watch as even the Chairman orchestrates killings and revenge plots against families and various "underbosses" until each one slowly kills off everyone from the other family. Unfortunately the overall plot was convoluted and got a bit confusing right around the middle, including figuring out who was trying to kill who, why, and so on.
In essence, Outrage is a story about all of the old mob bosses being replaced by a younger, new generation. Underbosses eventually betray and kill their bosses and no one is safe, even if they try to become a "citizen" and leave the mob world behind. The only problem is that there's no real direction, or point, to the story, but it almost doesn't really matter because we're just here to watch all of this unfold in front of us, watch as the story twists and turns, watch as the Chairman manipulates various mobsters into killing each other. And if that sounds like something that you'll be entertained by as well, then you'll enjoy Outrage as much as I did.
It's a fun film to watch and there are plenty of great performances all under the skilled direction of Takeshi Kitano, who also stars in the film as one of the mob bosses Ôtomo. As my first experience with Beat Takeshi, I'll admit I've quickly become a fan, and will be exploring his films as soon as I return from Cannes. And for everyone else who wants to get a taste of the Japanese underworld, Outrage is the perfect film to check out.
Reader Feedback - 18 Comments
Just now becoming a Takeshi fan? So many great movies from him over the decades. Sonatine, Scene at the Sea, Zatoichi, Brother (I guess..) I know i am forgetting some. His movies were much more artsy back in the day... He liked to show the non gangster aspect of the gangsters that we dont often see.
9mm on May 18, 2010
Love Kitano he is a Living Legend
Loser on May 18, 2010
Wow...You definitely have some catching up to do...9mm has given you a couple good ones to start with. Beat is also a great actor, too...for one of his more colorful performances check him out as the psychotic school teacher in Battle Royale. Have you seen many Yakuza films? He is definitely the best but there are some truly amazing ones out there.
Linkfx on May 18, 2010
You TOTALLY should watch Brother cause it's pretty much what you liked in that movie, and half of Brother is set in america, so you should connect even more. But actually Beat Takeshi is an "alter-ego" of Takeshi Kitano. Basically he uses the name Kitano when he do serious cinema stuff, and the name Beat Takeshi for his comedy stuff and his TV shows and so on. 3 of his last movies are actually a trilogy about his loss of identity between Beat and Kitano.
Lords of the Geeks on May 18, 2010
Anyone know where one might find a trailer to Outrage with english subtitles?
Loser on May 18, 2010
best kitano is hana-bi!
frost on May 18, 2010
#6 I totally agree, Hana-bi is brilliant.
Mathis on May 18, 2010
Takeshi is the man.
Chris H. on May 18, 2010
Yo Alex, You are in for some serious cinema treats, to back up #4 definately check out "Brother" (with House's Omar Epps being awesome) cos it's his most accessible Japanagsta film (just made that up, it's probably not gonna catch on is it.) Then "Hanna Bi", cos it's a different riff on similar ideas. Then watch Kitano's take on "Zatoichi". Very different again. Brilliant period piece that is not at all revenrent. One of my fav films ever. But nobody mention that he was in Johnny Mnemonic. There is no call to mention that the great Takeshi Kitano starred alongside Keanu "got wood?! i am wood!" Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic.
jimminy on May 18, 2010
Yes #6, Hana-bi (fireworks) is by far his best work! Gotta watch it~
lawei on May 18, 2010
Beat Takeshi's movies for me are either awesome or confusing. his best are already mentioned except for "Battle Royale". the paintings in "Hana Bi" are his. tremendously talented guy. one of the best "tough Guy" in movies.
karl on May 18, 2010
Violent Cop. Fantastic film. I think it was his first film to be released in the west.
JohnJ on May 19, 2010
#12 His first film ever in fact. And I am now very exited for this film. I hope it doesn't take too long to get released on DVD. Kitano is too good to be pirated. HE DESERVES MAH MONEYZ!
Hubilub on May 19, 2010
"Outrage" movie seems to rock the world....watch the trailer http://www.videocrux.com/video/24464/Takeshi-Kitano-in-Cannes-with-Outrage
Nav Raj on May 19, 2010
for someone who writes for a film blog, your knowledge of cinema outside of the US is fucking pathetic. seriously dude, every time you write about a foreign director / writer we get the "not familiar with his work" line.
elephant fresh on May 22, 2010
Was not a huge fan of his 'artistic trilogy', i guess it's a bit of any acquired taste, however some of his more violent films are wonderful and quite touching. Fireworks, Brother and Zatoichi are all worth a look.
Filip Rabuzin on May 23, 2010
The film Hana Bi was very good. However, the film Brother was absolutely dreadful, just pure gratuitious violence. In Hana Bi the few violent scenes were justified by the plot, but in Brother there was no plot. So if his latest film Outrage is similar to Brother, I am definitely not going to see it.
Alex on May 6, 2011
You light weight never seen any Beat Takeshi's films, very funny do you like films at all??
Alvarociglia on Nov 18, 2011
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