Friday, June 10, 2005

Sonatine (Takeshi Kitano)

This is only the third Kitano film I've seen, but it's enough to make me a huge fan. His films begin with conventional genre cliches and go all kinds of strange, wonderful places from there. Everything about Kitano's films -- their humor, violence, sense of timing, pacing, structure, form, use of music and color, camera placement -- are like nothing else I've seen. Occasionally, something will remind me of Kurosawa, Tati, or Chaplin, but mostly my jaw is open, either in confusion, awe, anticipation, or laughter. I love these films. What other gangster movie would spend half its running time diverted from the action to show several of the gangsters hiding out on a beach, playing practical jokes on each other, or move the camera away from a climactic gunfight to show how the gunfire's light and shadow look from the outside window? Kitano takes his stories to places that interest him, even if they wander further and further away from the plot, and why the hell not? Why don't more filmmakers do that? Sonatine is refreshing in ways so many other films aren't, in ways I haven't even mentioned. As funny and oddball as it is, it also despairs at what can happen to a man who lives a violent life.

2 comments:

Krouchdog said...

I really love "Sonatine" also. You should rent his newest movie "Blind Swordsman Zatoichi". Its a dramatic, bloody samurai film that has a cross dresser, a fat guy that runs in circles, and a musical number.

Dr. Mystery said...

Yeah, I saw that one in the theater last year. It's awesome.

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