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

Movie Review: Villain [Akunin] (2010) – Japanese Movie

villain poster

Villain, or Akunin,  is one of the best crime noir and emotional dramas that I’ve seen in a long time. Throughout the film I was questioning who was really being victimized and who was really being villainous. I found it a constant struggle to be sure I was sympathizing appropriately. I found it strange but rewarding to “feel” for a variety of characters who were tragically intertwined in this dark story. And I’m not the only one, as the film and it’s actors were nominated and won an array of awards, making it an acclaimed Japanese masterpiece directed by Zainichi Korean film director Lee Sang-il.

Who is the true “villain” here?

Villain is based on the 2006 novel “Akunin” written by Shuichi Yoshida who co-wrote the screenplay with director Lee Sang-il. The film showcases a superb cast led by Satoshi Tsumabuki and Eri Fukatsu. It also stars Hikari Mitsushima (“Sawako Decides“) and Akira Emoto (“April Bride“) who pulls off yet another convincing ‘father’ role. Kirin Kiki will make you cry, as much of the other content may bring you to tears (full cast). Tears out of a tragic love story, solitude, judgement and sadness. The film perhaps suggests that we are equally susceptible of being “the” victim or villain. It also dawns on the notion of ‘evil’ and whether or not people are truly bad.

villain 2

Part of me had the feeling the film was glorifying murder and just inserting a “murderers have feelings too” plot line, but that was progressively and eloquently dismantled as I found it to be more about the beauty of love and the sadness of no love. Sentiments surfaced along side gripping scenes with subtly deranged and moving music, which was the 1/5 non-actor/actress awards garnered at the 34th Japan Academy Awards. Villain is a ridiculously enjoyable film that raises very personal questions that attempt to waiver beliefs, judgements and even morals.

villain 1

Reviews: Film in Japan // Hollywood Reporter // Japan Movie Review // Beyond Hollywood

aparoo’s words: drama, crime, murder, victim, villain, blame, emotion, judgement, solitude, lonely, connection, souls, evil, good, bad,

aparoo says 5/5

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