Directed by Masaki Kobayashi and released in it’s home country of Japan in 1962.
With a dramatic score lifted straight out of the sixteenth century, this epic samurai film is highly regarded by many as one of the best. The cinematography is beyond incredible, wide shots and slanted angles make for absolutely compelling viewing. Despite being enticed throughout the entire film, I thought that some of the early flashback sequences could’ve easily been told in a more linear fashion.
As the film unfolds, however, and the characters react accordingly to the flashbacks of the honourable Hanshiro Tsugumo, this qualm I had with the film early one quickly unravels and as the film leads up to it’s spectacular duel during the final half hour it’s clear to see why the film is so highly regarded. The final duel of Harakiri stands neck and neck with that of any samurai epic ever made.
A revenge story that unfolds mostly through flashbacks, which reminds me somewhat of Rashomon (which I wasn’t too big of a fan of), Kobayashi’s Harakiri is an exceptionally directed epic that, despite being set in a time period long gone, stands the test of time as a splendid tale of morality and honour.
Directed by Martin McDonagh and released in it’s home country of England in 2012.
This review does contain some minor spoilers.
Seven Psychopaths… the second film from the maverick director of In Bruges. It’s no In Bruges, but it sure is fucking hilarious. I’m always intrigued to see how writer/directors write characters much like themselves and Colin Farrell’s writer Martin (cleverly named after Martin McDonagh himself) is a great character who begins to write about seven of the many many psychopaths he encounters in his life. The film itself plays out as the film he’s writing would likely play out which is a delight to watch especially with all the performances swerving in and out of the story.
The entire ensemble is just wonderful: Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Kevin Corrigan, Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko respectively all bring their own amazingly hilarious niches to the film. Even the fat chick from Precious was fucking dynamite – seeing her scream and get shot at was an absolute delight I have to admit hahahaha! The peyote sequence three quarters into the movie slows it down a little bit but doesn’t pass without the cleverness of the rest of the screenplay. Marvellous!
Directed by Shion Sono and released in it’s home country of Japan in 2012.
Shion Sono is a director most known for his incredibly violent films (Suicide Club, Cold Fish, Noriko’s Dinner Table, Love Exposure) so it’s quite odd to see him do something so left-field such as this. Even though that may be true, many of Sono’s trademarks shine through with this feature, many of which relate back to one of his more recent films Love Exposure – the two main characters of which clearly draw parallels to that of the the two main characters in Himizu, which is actually the term for a specific breed of mole in Japan.
Sadly the screenplay for Himizu is very weak and feels like it was written in a very short amount of time. However there is a logical explanation for this: the film is based on a manga and was then adapted shortly after completion to fit around the deadly earthquake that hit Japan in March of 2011. While the screenplay is lacking in conviction I cannot praise the ensemble of actors in this film. They each give splendid performances even with the awful characters that they have been given to portray.
Despite the bad writing, the film stands out as a clear message to the youth of Japan, in the wake of one of the deadliest earthquakes ever recorded, that there is a future for them regardless of what they may think.