Takeshi Kitano's Outrage (Autoreiji): Movie Review

Language - Japanese
Genre - Crime, Drama
Release - 2010

Outrage (Autoreiji)
Takeshi Kitano ('Beat' Takeshi) is one of the most respected and prolific actor and film-maker of Japan. Though he has delved across genres in his illustrious career, he is largely admired for his gritty and hard-hitting yakuza-police gangster dramas. Playing with Samurai and other experimental themes for a better part of the decade, Outrage marks the return of Beat Takeshi to the genre he's really made a name for himself in. Outrage did reasonably well at the box office amidst mixed to positive reviews and competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Outrage Beat TakeshiWritten, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano, Outrage sees the veteran as a middle aged Yakuza gangster Ôtomo caught in the power struggle in Sannokai, a powerful crime syndicate in charge of the Kanto region. The mayhem is triggered when the manipulative boss of the syndicate Sekiuchi (Kitamura Soichiro) orders his right-hand man Ikemoto (Kunimura Jun) to bring an unassociated Murase-gumi gang in line, eventually taking it over. Ikemoto entrusts the job to Ôtomo's gang who proceeds to swifty execute the take-over. But it's merely a precursor to all the betrayals and assassinations to follow. Kitano's Outrage has a bevy of characters, mostly Yakuza gangsters and corrupt cops, driven by their greed and ambition. 

Takeshi Kitano as Otomo in OutrageThere's no denying Kitano's intent to present a visually refined film, a departure from his previous films that had a more grungy visual aesthetic. The Yakuza bosses and their underlings are immacualtely dressed in black and grey suits and move about in a entourage of black Mercedes and other premium siblings, further exaggerated by Takeshi Kitano's well-known style of long shots. 

Yakuza gangster movie OutrageSadly, the movie lacks his trademark deadpan dark humor, realism and grit. Outrage focuses more on a complex plot and stylized execution primarily geared towards entertainment. Though the effort feels indecisive at times, it is respectful towards the bleak realism of the Yakuza world, typical of Kitano's earlier works. In 2003, 'Beat' Takeshi produced the biggest box-office blockbuster of his career with his retelling of the Zatoichi legend in a hugely entertaining The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi that felt highly original and refreshing, traits not too evident in Outrage as you see the credits roll. Outrage is not ground-breaking by any stretch, but it none the less is an extremely well crafted Yakuza gangster entertainer that fans of the genre are bound to appreciate.