Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô / Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) - Takashi Miike's early masterpiece - 9/10 (27/04/17)
Sjinjuku Triad Society was Takashi Miike's first movie that wasn't a direct-to-video release but that made it to Japanese movie theatres. It's also the first part of what would later become the Black Society Trilogy that focuses on gangsters living in foreign countries. This film is also a movie that establishes many trademarks that can be found in numerous Takashi Miike movies until today such as having controversial anti-heroes as protagonists, focusing on a slightly depressing, melancholic and at times surreal atmosphere and including a lot of cold-hearted violence including several anal rape scenes between both homosexual and heterosexual partners, an eyeball being ripped out of an old woman's face and a police officer that nearly gets beaten to death in this particular case. This movie shows the ugly sides of life and how each and every single human being has some serious flaws. Takashi Miike's movie aren't for the faint-hearted but that what makes them so unique after all.
It has also become a trademark that many of Takashi Miike's movies feature numerous characters and are at times difficult to follow. This is also the case here and it might take about half an hour to figure out who is who and on whose side. You patience will be rewarded with a movie that is equally entertaining and profound.
The movie shows how a Chinese-born Japanese police officer who isn't fully accepted by either society tries to take care of his old parents who have failed to integrate into Japanese society, protect his younger brother who gets involved as a lawyer for a local triad group and hunt down a homosexual Taiwanese-born gangster boss who is specialized in organ trafficking. The movie shows us flawed but very profound characters who are trying to find a way to be accepted and have a decent life but struggle to succeed in one way or another. This film is a brutal action movie and a suspenseful gangster thriller but also a thought-provoking drama. Despite the depressing settings and the desperate main plot, Takashi Miike also includes a few moments that lighten things up such as his absurd and black humour but also some short moments of compassion between the main character and his parents, a prostitute and his brother.
Shinjuku Triad Society is a charismatic masterpiece in Takshi Miike's early career that already shows how unconventional and unique his approach to film-making was back then. This movie's brutal, direct and gloomy attitude breaks several taboos in traditional Japan and that's why this film has developed a cult following among younger audiences over the years. If you like twisted dramas, gangster movies and neo-noir cinema, you should not only watch this outstanding movie but the entire Black Society Trilogy that has recently been released in North America with a detailed booklet, analytical commentary and exclusive recent interviews.« Takashi Miike's Black Society TrilogyGokudô kuroshakai / Rainy Dog (1997) - Unique lethargic melancholy set in a rainy Taiwan - 7/10 (29/04/17) »
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