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.
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” .
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 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 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.
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
In the Shadow of the Moon: You Get That Feeling That You’ve Seen It All Before
If you kill me now…
the world as you know it will end
in a very short time.
Yeah. Once again a movie about time traveling. Always interesting to see how they incorporated the paradox of time travel. And there’s always going to be someone who claims something isn’t right. Not that I really care about that because I still don’t know anyone who has actually traveled through time to provide proof whether changes in the past may or may not affect the future. Perhaps that would provide proof of whether the grandfather paradox is plausible or not. So, for me, it’s still pure Sci-Fi. And that results in enjoyable films such as “About Time“, “I’ll follow you down” or “Predestination“. And this Netflix Original certainly wasn’t that bad either.
Not a complicated movie.
This film differs enormously from one like “Predestination“. And this in terms of simplicity. It’s not all that complicated. Don’t expect such an immense “mindfuck” as in the latter. You don’t need an immense manual or walk-through here. And furthermore, it’s a pleasant mixture of detective-movie and Sci-Fi. The tracing of a serial killer (active in Philadelphia) by the ambitious police officer Locke (Boyd Holbrook) is the common thread throughout the film. The apparently randomly selected innocent victims, die a terrible death in which decomposing brains are the cause of the sudden death. Locke discovers that all the victims have scars in the neck area. Soon it’s said that an isotope is the cause of them ending up dead in a rapidly spreading blood pool. And when a fourth victim manages to give an accurate description of the person, a massive search is being conducted. Locke ends up face to face with a young, colored teenager (with a thorough knowledge of combat techniques) in a blue jogging suit (Cleopatra Coleman). The biggest shock for Locke is that she knows a lot of facts about Locke. Facts she couldn’t have known. And before you know it, it’s 9 years later …
Not a typical detective story.
The film is divided into time periods of 9 years. Starting in the year 1988. The year that the first murders happen. It’s actually the most action-rich part. And also the most realistic. The way in which a cook, concert pianist and female bus driver meet their end, has been portrayed enormously realistic. Don’t expect an ordinary cause of death. It’s pretty bloody. And in the case of the bus driver, quite spectacular. But when the phenomenon of the returning teenager reveals itself and you finally begin to understand what’s going on, realism slowly but surely fades away and gives way to pure fiction. And gradually you realize that this isn’t a typical detective film, with inspectors (like in “Se7en“) chasing a crazy serial killer. No way. It gradually transforms into a thoughtful sci-fi and then ends in a corny drama about family issues.
Excellent acting by Holbrook.
To be honest, I thought the acting performance of Boyd Holbrook as the wayward Locke wasn’t bad at all. Perseverance and drivenness were exceptionally well portrayed. Because of his obsession to solve the mystery, he loses control of reality. It destroys his family relationships and interferes with his work. Gradually Locke turns into an unkempt tramp, without work and living in his car. Therefore, let me praise the make-up department of this production. And although Holbrook’s acting was outstanding, you can’t say he out-sings the rest of the cast. They weren’t bad, but you can’t speak of spectacular interpretations either. Only the action-rich fight scenes with Cleopatra Coleman as an unleashed fury pleased me as well.
Well worth a watch.
No, “In the shadow of the Moon” certainly wasn’t a disastrous film. Although the story was essentially not too original. And you get that feeling that you’ve seen it all before. Probably because of that, the denouement wasn’t really surprising. Perhaps the opening scene was too revealing as well. The question of whether you can avoid disaster by drastically changing something in the past is and remains fascinating. I bet that the event they tried to undo, will be the subject of discussion once again. Just look at the politically charged opinions on other websites. Even the word “propaganda” is used all too often. The patronizing tone and the explanatory nature of the film was no obstacle for me to enjoy this film. Don’t expect a groundbreaking movie. But it surely was entertaining enough. So, it’s definitely well worth a watch, this Netflix Original.
You can watch “In the Shadow of the Moon” on Netflix now!
My rating 6.5/10
‘Joker’ Success Has Joaquin Phoenix Talking Sequel
“It ended up being a dream role”
Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ had tremendous success this weekend. Blowing the doors off the box-office with a record shattering October at $96mil, beating out ‘Venom’ to take the top spot. While ‘Joker’ is still playing strong in theaters, fans have already started speculating what direction the “Clown Prince of Crime,” will head next. Todd Phillips originally shot down the idea of a ‘Joker 2.’ While talking to IGN Phillips said, “We have no plans for a sequel. We always pitched it as one movie, and that’s it.” Now it sounds like Phoenix has different aspirations for the Joker. During an interview with “Popcorn with Peter Travers,” Phoenix talked about his love for the role, saying:
“You know, I wouldn’t have thought about this as my dream role. But now, honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it,” Phoenix said. “I talked to Todd a lot about what else we might be able to do, in general, just to work together, but also specifically, if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting. So, it ended up being a dream role. It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie.”
Phoenix, who famously passed on the role of Doctor Strange in the MCU also had this to say about returning to the Joker:
“I don’t know that there is [more to do],” Phoenix said. “Me and Todd would still be shooting now if we could, right? Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”
‘Joker’ will definitely have fans clamoring for more. The movie sets up plenty of potential options for a sequel. More importantly fans just want to see Phoenix return to the screen as Arthur Fleck aka Joker. Joker has raked in over $258mil worldwide on a reported $50mil budget.
‘Joker’ is in theaters now. Get your tickets here: JOKER TICKETS
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn | Official Trailer- HD
Action, Adventure, Crime
February 7, 2020 (Post Production)
Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez
After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.
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