Release Date: February 4th, 1967 (Japan)
Directed by: Takashi Nomura
Written by: Shūichi Nagahara, Nobuo Yamada
Based on: a novel by Shinji Fujiwara
Music by: Harumi Ibe
Cast: Joe Shishido, Jerry Fujio, Chitose Kobayashi, Ryōtarō Sugi
Nikkatsu, 84 Minutes
Japan really made some visually stellar and interesting motion pictures in the 1960s. This one takes its inspiration from classic film noir, French New Wave and the spaghetti westerns of its time.
In fact, despite being a simple Yakuza crime flick, this has a score very similar to the ones you’d hear in Sergio Leone’s western movies.
Beyond that, this feels similar to Seijun Suzuki’s crime movies from the same decade. Although, this one is less stylized and surreal.
Director Takashi Nomura’s work here is incredible and since I’ve never seen any of his work before this, I kind of want to check out what else he’s done based off of how enjoyable, artistic and technically savvy this film is.
It’s also pretty well acted from top-to-bottom and features characters you’ll like and despise.
One thing that really stands out about this movie is the energy of it. The big finale is absolutely incredible and way ahead of its time in how it was shot, executed and presented.
Additionally, the cinematography is beautiful and it truly embraces the best parts of the classic film-noir aesthetic with a high contrast visual style and the clever use of shadow and light.
While I hold the Seijun Suzuki and Akira Kurosawa Yakuza films in very high regard, this lesser known film by the uber talented Takashi Nomura deserves to be in the same circle as those other amazing and game changing pictures.
Pairs well with: other neo-noir styled Yakuza movies, such as some of the ’60s films of Seijun Suzuki.