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Sunday, June 8, 2008

YOUTH OF THE BEAST (1963)


A phenomenally well made triple-cross mob story about a disgraced cop from Kobe who brazens his way into Tokyo’s top two rival gangs and plays both against the middle. He's trying to discover who murdered the only detective who kept faith with him during his three-year jail stint. It's filled with ultra-imaginative visuals, a color design Jacques Demy might envy (great B&W scope shots with just a stroke of color & an assortment of color-coded phones you'll want to collect), superb pacing and readable action sequences that thrill without a glimmer of CGI. Genre helmer extraordinaire Seijun Suzuki makes this film feel & look decades ahead of its time. Tough guy Joe Shishido (very much in the Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson mold) makes all the physical action and plot machinations feel inevitable. But mostly, it’s Suzuki, piling one stunning image upon another who lifts this into pulp heaven. De Palma, Scorsese & Tarantino are all in his debt. Why is this film so little known?

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