Film Reviews Cat

Brother (2000)

6.5/10

If you are in the mood one day for a Japanese/American Yakuza gangster movie which is over the top at times then this is a must see. Don’t get me wrong, i really enjoyed the movie because the director (Takeshi Kitano) did an amazing job, and the story arc is action-packed. Not only that, it has some really good written scenes that are funny, emotional, and engaging. The latter mainly because of the way the movie was shot.

I will explain in my own words what this movie is about for those who didn’t read the synopsis of this movie yet, and would like to know what they sign up for before watching it; Our protagonist Aniki Yamamoto (Takeshi Kitano) has to leave Japan, for a very good reason, and goes to the US where he has a ‘brother’. This brother is not a real brother but rather a maffia kind of brother who lives in LA. The director makes great use of flashback scenes to show the audience what exactly happened to Aniki when he was still in Japan. These flashbacks really show that the protagonist is an extremely well developed character, and I felt immediately a connection to the protagonist. Aniki Yamamoto appears to me as a very likeable, and even honorable Yakuza gangster. I think this is really the strength of the entire movie. There are so many different characters that surrounded Aniki on his journey, but most characters don’t seem well developed. Or at least, not as well developed as our protagonist. However, this was not too much of a problem for me because most of the scenes involve Aniki somehow.

Yes, it is a little weird to say that I felt a great connection to our Yakuza protagonist, but this is mainly because he is only dealing with other groups of maffia, and not so much with the law and order side of things. Basically, it is a Yakuza movie without serious police interference. This might not seem weird when they are in Japan, but when they are in the USA, and there are heavy firearms being used without police getting involved then this is very strange. The fact that there was not one scene, as far as i can remember, which involved a police officer questioning them pulls the entire movie towards the unrealistic side. Yes, there was a scene in which two US police officers were clearly under control, through bribes, of Aniki Yamamoto. However, it is totally unrealistic that one only has to bribe two cops in order to commit a tremendous amount of illicit business in LA. Additionally, the third act was also very weak and totally unrealistic. I can’t say too much about it without spoiling it, but they could have written a more complicated third act, or at least one that was a little more intense.

If you can forgive this movie for its obvious shortcomings, and focus instead on the amazing acting, and directing skills of Takeshi Kitano himself then you will definitely have a good time. I think this movie should get a sequel sometime in the upcoming years with a more serious tone in which we experience less silly situations and only focus on Japan.

Some people might say that a 6.5/10 is not a good grade for this movie because it is a great movie to watch. Such people might be right, but honestly I can’t give this one a 7.0 because the movie relies way too much on the skills of the director, and not the story itself. Additionally, it is also very unfortunate that about half of the cast did not do a good acting job. When you have actors, even with minor roles, that are not convincing then this pulls you out of the story. And this is the last thing that you want.

Director: Takeshi Kitano 

Writer: Takeshi Kitano

Actors:

Takeshi KitanoAniki Yamamoto (as ‘Beat’ Takeshi)
Omar EppsDenny
Claude MakiKen
Masaya KatôShirase
Susumu TerajimaKato
Royale WatkinsJay
Lombardo BoyarMo
Ren OsugiHarada (as Ren Ôsugi)
Ryo IshibashiIshihara
James ShigetaSugimoto
Tatyana AliLatifa (as Tatyana M. Ali)
Makoto ÔtakeChief of Police
Kôen OkumuraHanaoka
Naomasa MusakaHisamatsu
Rino KataseNight Club Madame

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