Normally, Takeshi “Beat” Kitano is one of my favorite actors to watch. He brings a certain style to his films, whether doing drama or comedy that makes him entertaining, even if he’s pretty much playing the same basic character from film to film. He also has a habit of writing and directing his own films, and usually produces a pretty good flick. Outrage, however, was not one of those occasions.
The story follows the interrelations of many Yakuza families, from the top dogs to the lowly groups just trying to make a living. It starts with a group of families ganging up on one smaller family and then progresses into a self-cannibalistic frenzy of families killing each other while trying to gain more wealth, power and territory. Eventually, the whole affair backfires to one degree or another and everyone ends up killing everyone else.
This seems like the perfect outline for a Japanese gangster flick, but the execution is poor. After about 30 minutes, the movie begins to lose cohesion. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on for about 20-30 minutes until it begins to migrate back to original intent. Characters pop up and leave without any point to their being there in the first place. Much of what goes on does nothing to further the plot, but only acts as a limited insight into some of the activities that the Yakuza participate in. At times this movie seems almost random, with no real focus to it.
I can see what Takeshi was going for here. He wanted to show the self-destructive nature of the Yakuza and that no matter what anyone does to please their superiors they always seem to be in danger if the whim strikes the ones above to devour them. The intention is good, but the movie takes so long to get where it’s going that the point is lost.
By the time the end rolls around, the viewer is forced to watch 30 minutes of epilogue that could have been easily done in 10. Takeshi goes through the motions of each, tiny little piece of resolution to the point of redundancy. It’s a shame, because I like his work so much. Outrage, however, just doesn’t cut it. It either needed to be 30 longer to put some connections between the seemingly random scenes, or it needed to be completely redone. An interesting watch, but not a good one.