Movie Review: Blood and Bones (2004) – Japanese Movie

blood and bones

Blood and Bones is bone-chilling and bloody brutal, in a wonderful way. It’s a wonderful depiction of a violent life and all the ripple effects that come from it. The movie is based on Chi to hone, a semi-autobiographical novel by Zainichi Korean author Yan Sogiru (Yang Seok-il). Director Yoichi Sai reportedly waited six-years for Takeshi Kitano to accept the lead role and refused to make the film without him (source). Sai went on to create a critically acclaimed Japanese cinematic masterpiece (12 Japanese Academy Award nominations and 4 wins). Kitano went on to give one of the best performances of his life, if not the best (and he’s had a long track record of outstanding performances among other notable work in his illustrious career).

blood and bones kitano

Heavy. Heavy is the one word most viewers or reviewers would write down if asked to describe Blood and Bones. It’s heavy in it’s socioeconomic exploration of Japanese culture, the class system and Korean immigration. As a time-period drama, the film spans a handful of decades all ‘stuck’ in the same town, with the same tyrant man (Kitano). Kitano plays a a hateful and abusive factory owner come loan shark who quite simply ravages people’s lives. As the cancer of the town and destroyer of all good, his innate nature strings along his ego and obsessions. Even Ebenezer Scrooge would be rolling over in his grave. So, it’s heavy not in it’s portrayal but in it’s character. Blood and Bones is the story of an epic man’s spread of turmoil and the sheer hope of beauty that may or may not survive around him.

Kitano, away from his usual comedic or Yakuza roles plays a ‘villainous’ Korean migrant and once again shows his range in a craft that he is at the top of. Sai’s adaptation of the true story and on-screen creations triumph in storytelling. Blood and Bones is ‘heavy’ to watch, but beyond worthwhile to do so. Feelings of being trapped underneath all the brutality should in fact bring questions to human behaviour to your mind. This is a compelling film because it is a sensational human story. Self-obsession can be brutally tragic.

Reviews: Rotten Tomatoes // J-film Pow-Wow // Korean Society // Midnight Eye // Time

Synopsis: Asian Cinematic

aparoo’s words: heavy

aparoo says 5/5

Download: Asia Torrents

Other recommendations:
Villain (based on a novel by another Zainichi Korean author)
Outrage (another one of my Kitano favourites)
Villon’s Wife (another story about an abusive man)

Image credit: Google Image Search

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