Monday, 18 February 2013
Tokyo Drifter 
Anyone who has seen maverick Japanese New Wave filmmaker Seijun Suzuki’s Youth of the Beast might know what to expect while watching Tokyo Drifter. This colourful, riotous and gleefully over-the-top gangster potboiler, with equal doses of wacky humour and surreal touches, is essentially the kind of film that would make Tarantino leap up in joy. When powerful yakuza gangster Kurata (Ryuji Kita) goes straight, so does his trusted right-hand man Tetsu (Tetsuya Watari). But, when he realizes that he is coming in the way of peace for his Boss, who is more than a father to him, he takes leave from him and the beautiful nightclub singer he likes (Chieko Matsubara), and becomes a drifter. But the bad guys just refuse to budge, and so it ends the only way it can end – in a spectacular showdown amidst some cool gunplay. And on the way he is taught a valuable lesson by a fellow lone wolf and an equally adroit ex-yakuza henchman – that loyalty can often be a life-threatening proposition. The plot wasn’t anything new and was filled with holes the size of craters. But then, Suzuki, as one might guess, wasn’t anyway concerned with watertight storylines to start with; for him, style and form overruled content. Consequently, what he concocted was a delirious mix of idiosyncrasies, cool and unpredictability, including one of the most rambunctious drunken brawls ever recorded on screen. The film’s vibrant colour design, set-pieces and madcap editing were particularly memorable. Yet, interestingly, it had an underlying streak of melancholia as well, marvelously emphasized by the absolutely beautiful title song that formed its principal motif.
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Gangster Film/Black Comedy/Action