Sonatine

Overview

Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker, comedian, television star, author, and all-around renaissance man Takeshi "Beat" Kitano stars in this unconventional take on the crime drama. Kitano portrays Murakawa, a successful Yakuza officer who has grown weary of the violent life, so much so that he has even considered retirement. Thus, he is not pleased when he is asked to lead a team to help defuse a gang war in Okinawa but agrees when he is assured it will be an easy job. It proves anything but, however, and he soon finds ...
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Overview

Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker, comedian, television star, author, and all-around renaissance man Takeshi "Beat" Kitano stars in this unconventional take on the crime drama. Kitano portrays Murakawa, a successful Yakuza officer who has grown weary of the violent life, so much so that he has even considered retirement. Thus, he is not pleased when he is asked to lead a team to help defuse a gang war in Okinawa but agrees when he is assured it will be an easy job. It proves anything but, however, and he soon finds himself in the middle of a complex, bloody conflict. Fearing that he has been set up, Murakawa withdraws to a nearby coastal town. The film takes a trademark Kitano turn at this point, moving away from the standard crime drama plot to focus on what amounts to a gangster's summer vacation, with the killers playing frisbee on the beach and taking dancing lessons. Murakawa even finds a summer romance, falling in love with a local girl who is impressed by his way with a gun. This sunny idyll cannot last forever, however, and soon the realities of the criminal life catch up with them. Seen as a prime example of Kitano's style, Sonatine features a combination of deadpan comedy and unexpectedly romantic lyricism, periodically interrupted by shockingly sudden bursts of violence.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
One of world cinema's most consistently interesting directors, Takeshi Kitano has the uncanny knack of being able to repeat himself without becoming tiresome. The lean and absorbing Sonatine, the filmmaker's fourth feature, bears all the trappings of a typical Kitano gangster flick: an impassive antihero, slapstick comedy, stylish mayhem, and an undercurrent of sadness. Less sentimental than 1998's policier-cum-weepie Fireworks (his most successful movie), Sonatine is nonetheless a strange hybrid, wedging the aimless story of a beach idyll into a straightforward genre picture. With his weathered face and unimposing slouch, Kitano is an unlikely candidate to play a cool antihero. But as with most of his movies, tight-lipped stoicism and coiled viciousness go a long way. Formally, the picture is as strong as anything Kitano has done. The stark and static compositions have cumulative power, creating a meditative mood that's almost alien to the genre. For all its deviations from the generic norm, the movie doesn't really tell us anything new; it's the telling that makes the movie worth watching. Familiar by Kitano's standards, Sonatine never fails to surprise anyway, a testament to the peculiarity of his vision.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/1/2000
  • UPC: 786936033595
  • Original Release: 1993
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Takeshi Kitano Murakawa
Tetsu Watanabe Uechi
Aya Kokumai
Ren Osugi
Technical Credits
Takeshi Kitano Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Joe Hisaishi Score Composer
Hisaishi Hoe Score Composer
Senji Horiuchi Sound/Sound Designer
Yanagijima Katsumi Cinematographer
Masayuki Mori Producer
Hisao Nabeshima Producer
Kazuyoshi Okuyama Executive Producer
Sasaki Osamu Production Designer
Katsumi Yanagishima Cinematographer
Takio Yoshida Producer
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