Released from prison, Otomo takes part in fueling a gang war between two powerful national clans, under the eyes of the police.
#THE FIRST TIME!
With Outrage (2010), Takeshi Kitano was coming back to the genre that made him internationally famous, at the same time, the film allowed him to renew with the Japanese audiences, it was his best box-office hit in years — his introspective trilogy didn’t meet real success, in these original films, Kitano was questioning himself as an artist, trying to explore the creative process…
And not only he’s back with a more commercial oriented project, but he also decided to direct a sequel that manages to resolve some of the narrative issues — the dead aren’t really dead. It’s a first for Kitano, allowing him to explore further the dark absurdity of this world made of power angry wolves.
The first film was about the bloody violent quest for power in some little city clans, where everyone plots against each other, with ingenious gangsters finding original ways to murder people. Outrage Beyond takes some high/distance to portray the perverse behaviour of yakuza. Less bloodbath, more humiliation.
The film takes place on a national level, with two major different clans. On one side, a clan organized like a company who took advantage of the economical crisis to get bigger, to develop its network with the police or politicians. On the other side, an older clan with seemingly traditional values, where in appearance, honor has more value than money, and using manipulation as a key tool.
As for the story, whether it’s about a vengeance, a gang war… Nobody is never in full control of the situation, whatever the influence or role, everybody is manipulated, there’s always someone else benefiting from the situation. Otomo appears as one of the few to understand this yakuza game.
Everyone tries to take advantage of the situation, to satisfy some personal ambitions. The result is a national conflict based purely on egotistic & pointless motives that doesn’t concern the rest of the society — which is interesting, considering Kitano pushed back the shooting of the film due to the 03.11 disaster in Japan, for one simple reason, it was no time for movies.
#KITANO, AS USUAL
Through small touches of absurdity, Outrage Beyond underlines the egotism of the yakuza. A world in which old timers aren’t fit to rule because unlike the youngest, they don’t know the latest technological tricks to make easy money. A world in which fidelity or respect doesn’t mean anything, opportunism is better. In this world, the old executives are complaining about the lack of food during important meetings, forcing them to go out on their own right after the event like they’re just like any salarymen. And of course, this world is made of big mouths who carefully follow orders. It’s all these details that point out the behaviour of these men, who think they’re better than anyone else when they’re really just dogs.
Violence appears from time to time, it’s brief, short, emotionless. Men are killed like rabbits, and sometimes, massacre aren’t even shown, the audience will only hear the gun shooting and admire the final result. But even though these violence scenes reveal some gruesome ideas — the drill — it’s nothing compared to the profoundly perverse human relationships. A gun shot is dramatically weaker than some humiliating dialogue, with big shots acting big in front of their boss. The influence of power & manipulation on humans only reveal the deep cynicism of that society.
#OUTRAGE, WHERE ART THOU?
Just like the first film, Outrage Beyond offers a variety of characters, with different motivations, wants & role to play. This world often appears as confusing, the many discussions mention many names without reintroducing the characters… It takes time to figure it out, to understand who’s who, where the story is heading to. Kitano isn’t being didactic.
Keeping in mind it’s a slow paced thriller with sudden break of violence, the film is built around dialogues that reveal the whole power struggle, of this world — for ex, the one circular shot during the plotting scene at the restaurant, the camera movement is cut when an outsider enters into the piece.
TO SUM IT UP:
A sequel about the violence of human interactions, with great moments of dark absurdity, confusing story though.
The film is like the character played by Kitano himself, mostly indifferent/detached to what’s happening because he’s too well aware of the reality of that game/genre.
Written by Michael Stern (@wildgrounds) Published on May 1, 2013