Connect with us

HTML Image

Crime

Only Thing That Tries To Break Through This Darkness Is The Sometimes Bright Neon Lights

Published

on

When you dishonor your boss
and you want to show remorse,
you give your finger.
It’s called otoshimae.
I see you’ve got all your fingers.

Even though I don’t have any affinity with Japanese culture as such and mostly ignore Asian films, I couldn’t resist giving “The Outsider”  a chance. Not only because of the fact that Jared Leto is playing in it (a colorful actor who reminds me of Johnny Depp and because of his role as The Joker in “Suicide Squad” can join the club of quirky Hollywood actors), but also because of the central theme of the Yakuza families. I wondered if this could be another successful Netflix original.

I don’t know much about Japanese culture. Only the term Yakuza is known to me. You can see it as the Japanese version of the Italian Mafia. The only difference with their Italian counterparts is that the Yakuza members are an epitome of inner calmness and adopt an intimidating attitude by using ice-cold, angry looks and a threatening, non-loud tone during their conversations. Quite different from the Italian mafia members, who usually want to make an impression by shouting and intense gesticulating while making their point, after which a rival gets a concrete pedestal and they dump him in some Italian river. So I prepared myself for a Japanese-colored “Godfather“-like movie.

 

The Outsider

 

Extremely slow pacing.

The first thing you could criticize is the pace of the film. “The Outsider”  is extremely slow at times, indeed. But doesn’t that suite the entire Japan concept? After all, members of the Yakuza families themselves use a certain pace in their conversations by using impressive silences between sentences. On the one hand to show respect. On the other hand maybe also to increase the impact of used words. Have you ever seen a Geisha passing by? They aren’t exactly a paragon of speed. And to be honest, if this movie had lasted an extra hour, I wouldn’t have minded that either. And that’s because of the other positivities you can find in “The Outsider” .

 

The Outsider

 

A white Yakuza member. Possible or not?

First of all, I thought the acting of the entire cast was marvelous on all fronts. The mix of authentic Japanese who speak their own language for most of the film instead of constantly using broken, bad-sounding English and the acting of Jared Leto was simply stunning. How Nick Lowell ended up in an Osaka prison, remained a mystery to me. He’s the only English-speaking prisoner and is surrounded by mainly Yakuza gang members. Rescuing the Yakuza Kiyoshi (Tadanobu Asano) from a perilous, life-threatening situation gives him a ticket to freedom. And that’s when he chooses to gradually integrate into the Yakuza family. Not an easy task since the members of this Yakuza family aren’t really hospitable and are rather resentful towards white strangers (a Gaijin). However, I wonder if, in reality, a Westerner would get a chance to be included in such a Yakuza-family. I doubt it.

 

The Outsider

 

Sublime cinematography.

The used cinematography in ‘The Outsider’ was also generally sublime. Maybe a little too dark at certain moments, such as the prison scenes, for example. But in general, the setting in this post-war Japan is really impressive. A mysterious metropolis with dark, narrow alleys, clubs where Sumo wrestlers compete and smoky night clubs. The only thing that tries to break through this darkness is the sometimes bright neon lights.
Expect some violent scenes too. You can’t do without it in a gangster movie, I guess. There are quite a few victims. Lots of gunshots and knives carving around. Even a self-mutilation scene where a few fingers are sacrificed isn’t missing.

 

The Outsider

 

The acting of Jared Leto was superb.

My limited knowledge of Asian film material and Japanese customs made sure everything came across as fairly authentic to me. Others, who immersed themselves in this matter, may have noticed imperfections. And perhaps the content has all been done before. I even read somewhere that there was a lot of fuss about casting Jared Leto. And the term “whitewashing” came up. Didn’t we have the same discussion about Matt Damon’s contribution to “The Great Wall“? By the way, I thought Jared Leto was suitable for this role as the silent (probably because he doesn’t speak the language), cold-blooded and emotionless Nick. He reminded me a bit of Keanu Reeves in “47 Ronin“. Only the speed with which he was accepted in the Shiromatsu Yakuza clan, seemed greatly exaggerated. And the emotional relationship between Nick and Miyu (Shioli Kutsuna) felt like a mandatory item.

 

The Outsider

 

But just as I scoured the internet for information about “The Zodiac Killer” after watching the movie “Zodiac“, I couldn’t resist consulting Wikipedia about the Yakuza phenomenon. That means this film also left an impression. If slow crime movies about the Mafia interest you, and this in a Japanese environment, then I can definitely recommend this movie to you.

You can watch The Outsider on Netflix now!

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

 

Action

The Silencing | Great Cinematography From A Low Budget Film

Published

on

I need to see that girl.
She could be my daughter.

 

It’s always nice to see how actors from a successful television series cope in a feature film. And especially if the genre is quite different from what they played in that series. Here Nikolaj Coster-Waldau makes a decent attempt to show that he has more to offer than playing a king’s son who prefers to perform gymnastic exercises with his sister between the sheets. His performance here is on a similar level to that of Jaime Lannister in “Game of Thrones”. Convincing enough, but not exactly of exceptional quality. A role that doesn’t annoy you. But every time you see his face somewhere, you have to think for a moment where you know that face from. This is also the case here in “The Silencing”. I was like, “Damn, where do I know this guy from?”. Only after fifteen minutes or so, I could figure it out.

 

 

Where there’s grief, there’s booze.

The Silencing” itself is of the same level. Certainly not a bad movie. But also not a movie that’ll blow you away. The story felt a bit incomplete to me. There were some improbabilities (not to say completely nonsensical decisions). And the denouement with the disclosure of the perpetrator and his motivation, I personally found a bit far-fetched. The film had something “Silence of the Lambs“-ish but then set in an extensive, forest-like nature reserve. An area managed by Rayborn Swanson (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) that has been given the name “Gwen Swanson sanctuary”. A reference to his daughter who has been missing for 5 years. It’s a place where animals can live undisturbed and protected, far from hunters and poachers. Rayborn lives an isolated life far from the civilized world. A way to silently grief about the loss of his daughter. Usually by consuming liters of alcohol. A bit strange because that’s exactly what caused that disappearance.

 

 

There’s a serial killer on the loose.

The story gets a little bit more exciting the moment a serial killer comes into the picture. Someone who probably watched “The Hunt” too much. What follows, is a cat-and-mouse game with the participation of the local female sheriff Alice Gustafson (Annabelle Wallis, series-loving fans will recognize her from “Peaky Blinders”) who herself has her hands full with the stupidities her little brother Brooks (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a drug addict with a traumatic past.

 

 

Ridiculous things.

Without a doubt, this could have been a much better, coherent movie, provided the script was changed a bit. It’s linked together with hooks and eyes. Full of coincidences and ridiculous twists. Decisions are made that are too ridiculous for words. Alice’s surprising action at one point is understandable on the one hand. But on the other hand completely unreal. And the indifference that those involved show afterward as if nothing had ever happened, made me frown for a moment. Rayborn’s paint pot trick seemed so absurd and stupid that I spontaneously burst out laughing. Not exactly applicable to a serious thriller about a serial killer.

 

Mediocrity rules.

The Silencing” isn’t so great. A mediocre piece of movie. Actually, you could say that you’ve seen it all before in other movies. And much better movies too. Cinematographically it looks professional (despite the low budget) and the general mood is also good. But, when you love watching exciting flicks with nerve-racking suspense, you’ll be disappointed. The only thing I can’t say anything wrong about is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s acting. Solid and constant. Just like in “Game of Thrones“. Again a pitiful persona. But I’m sure I won’t recognize him in his next feature. Once again.

 

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

Continue Reading

Crime

The Tax Collector | Official Trailer -HD

David Cuevas is a family man who works as a gangland tax collector for high ranking Los Angeles gang members. He makes collections across the city with his partner Creeper making sure people pay up or will see retaliation. An old threat returns to Los Angeles that puts everything David loves in harm’s way.

Published

on

By

Genre:

Crime, Drama, Thriller

Release Date:

August 7, 2020

Director:

David Ayer

Cast:

Shia LaBeouf, Lana Parrilla, Elpidia Carrillo, George Lopez, Chelsea Rendon, Karrie Martin, Jay Reeves, Rene Moran

Plot Summary:

David Cuevas is a family man who works as a gangland tax collector for high ranking Los Angeles gang members. He makes collections across the city with his partner Creeper making sure people pay up or will see retaliation. An old threat returns to Los Angeles that puts everything David loves in harm’s way.

Continue Reading

Crime

A Good Woman is Hard to Find: Shows Us The Harsh Realities Of Life

Published

on

Just let sleeping dogs lie.

The moment you see Sarah (SarahThe Lazarus EffectBolger) turning the house upside down while looking for batteries for her non-working vibrator and hear her say “Thank you Jesus” a little later with visible relief, it seems as if she’s a completely different character than the woman who came into the picture at the beginning of the film. Admittedly, a woman who still mourns her recently deceased husband. But then without blood splashes in her face and on her body. After seeing “Becky” only recently, “A good woman is hard to find” is yet another revenge film in which a desperate woman takes a thorough revenge on those who made her life a living hell. Not that she suffered physical injuries. But the murder of her husband and the way in which she is treated by society makes sure that it’s best your not going to stand in Sarah’s way. Those who do will experience the painful consequences.

 

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find

 

Only a few unrealistic aspects.

The only thing I found a bit unrealistic was the constant apathy and misogyny displayed here. Never thought there were so many rude, insensitive and tactless people in the UK. A shop assistant who treats Sarah like a utensil and makes use of a fairly sexist language. A psychologist who shows a lack of tact. But especially the way the police treated her was totally implausible to me. Even if the activities of the deceased husband were not too kosher, that doesn’t mean that this widow should be treated in such a low-minded, condescending way. And while the drug gang is notorious in this district who don’t treat annoying individuals in a gentle way, it seems as if they are unknown to the local police.

 

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find

 

“American psycho” in the UK.

In any case, “A good woman is hard to find” has a more realistic character than, say, a film like “Becky”. The bleak and hopeless situation Sarah finds herself in. The gray slums in Belfast, Ireland, where drug trafficking is rampant. Lawlessness seems to be a standard in this social neighborhood. And the revenge actions can also be called quite brutal. And at the same time more plausible than in other films. When Sarah goes to the local hardware store and starts purchasing a whole arsenal of working tools, you can expect nauseating scenes. Not that it’s explicitly portrayed. But the background noise and slow-motion images leave nothing to the imagination. Immediately I was thinking about “American Psycho”.

 

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find

 

Harsh and realistic flick.

Although “A good woman is hard to find” is a fairly conventional thriller that doesn’t deviate from the standard rules of the genre, there are still some elements that make the film rise above average. There’s the admirable acting of Sarah Bolger. A woman who has to deal with the loss of her husband on the one hand and then realizes that he actually lived a different life. The impetus for the rising violence can be traced back to petty thief Tito (Andrew Simpson). Stealing a load of drugs, belonging to the local drug lord Leo Miller (Edward Hogg), and using Sarah’s house as an alternative storage place, he forces Sarah to defend herself as a determined lioness. Also, those two roles (Tito and Leo) are played properly. And finally there’s the film technical aspect. Solid image quality. “A good woman is hard to find” is in all respects a dark and depressing film that shows the harsh reality of life in a hard and realistic way. An intense trip, as it were

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

Continue Reading

Trending