There’s organized crime across the globe. Every sovereign nation has to deal with them in some way or another. Mexico has the Zeta’s, Russia has the Bravta, and Japan has the Yakuza. Now, all the organized crime syndicates are terrible, but the moral boundaries of some are thinner than others. I’m not the authority on this, but I’m pretty sure the Yakuza makes the american mafia look like warm hearted entrepreneurs.
“Outrage” is ultimately about the everyday life of the Yakuza. It’s violent, corrupt, double crossing, and insanely ego-driven. The factions of the Yakuza are lead by the Chairman and those factions make pacts with each other to gain more control over territories. Jaded intentions and half truths corrode the lines of communication and chaos ensues as people die needlessly. I would like to say that this is a rare occurrence for the Yakuza, but I think this is just business as usual.
The movie doesn’t have a star per-say, as the how and why of the Yakuza is the central focus. Takeshi Kitano plays Otomo (he also directs) as a brutual Yakuza lieutenant whom is asked to bring down a rouge gang that has been collecting in their territory. That rouge organization is working for a branch of the Yakuza in the Ikemoto clan. Otomo retailiates, which leads Ikemoto to take action, which leads to the chairman to makes a decision, which makes Otomo angry, which makes Ikemoto’s underboss hungry for a promotion, and retaliations continue until a lot of blood is spilt. The movie is pretty much a series of power plays that result in a total revamp of the Yakuza’s infrastructure.
This movie is brutal. Five minutes does not go by without someone being pummeled. The Yakuza are fairly creative too as their torture methods and murders are fairly inventive. At one point, they tie a rope around someone’s neck in a car, tie the other end of the rope to a pole outside of the car, and then they hit the gas. The man’s neck is snapped as he is brutally yanked out of the car. I’m assuming there’s a writers’ table of Yakuza that just come up with fanciful ways to murder people. I’d like to see that movie.
The pacing of this film is dictated by the decisions made from within the organization. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s handled a little bit differently than what you’d expect. Once Otomo, or any other higher ups, make a decision, the film cuts right into the results of that decision. There isn’t a wide shot to establish the scene or any scenes displaying preparation. I found myself confused as we just cut into a separate room, mid-conversation. Then a group of thugs would walk in, pummel someone, and I am reassured to what’s going on. It’s unrelenting, but for a movie with no real protagonist, it keeps the film captivating.
The cinematography is impressive, but nothing too lavish. The performances and the incessant display of cause and effect is what makes the movie. It’s a barebones film. There’s very little left to the imagination to characters’ motives or feelings. Seeing the inner workings of the Yakuza and how they operate is the most enthralling part.
So, if you’re a fan of mob movies and their inner workings, you should enjoy “Outrage.” It resembles “Goodfellas” and “Sopranos” in that way. If you’re not interested in mobster and need some kind of good guy to follow, then this is not the film for you. It’s entertaining in it’s lack of a moral compass, but it’s also kind of horrifying that the events of this film are probably happening right now.