21 July 2020 | morrison-dylan-fan
"The beast in his heart has gone back to sleep."
After viewing The Boy Who Came Back (1958-also reviewed) from Vol 1,I went back to Vol 2 in order to keep watching the titles in order of release. Surprised to find no review on this site for the title,I awoke the beast.
Note:Review contains spoilers.
View on the film:
A noticeable improvement over the first presentation in the set, (Eight Hours of Terror (1957-also reviewed) Arrow deliver a excellent transfer,with the moody black and white colour picture clean,and the soundtrack being crisp.
The first of two back to back productions that use a newsroom as a prominent setting, directing auteur Seijun Suzuki goes to the printers with occasional collaborator of this period cinematographer Shigeyoshi Mine for hot off the presses Film Noir atmosphere.
Looking down the starboard as a drug bundle sails into the country, Suzuki twists his distinctive surrealist Japanese New Wave motifs into Film Noir grit, peeling back the flashbacks with mesmerising in-camera tricks dissolves frames of the person talking onto the overlapping flashbacks taking place.
Continuing to build on his major recurring motifs by rolling the camera with Kasai and Keiko out of the hip youthful Jazz clubs and out to the brittle urban landscape, where the stench of corruption hangs on the thick cut black and white shadows lining the streets, Suzuki burns down the façade of moral authority with a blazing final that destroys each level of corruption Kasai found.
Casting a uncomfortable smile across his face like Joker, Shinsuke Ashida gives a thrilling performance as Junpei,who Ashida has mask his activates with a false fatherly calm towards his daughter Keiko, (played by a wonderfully understated Kazuko Yoshiyuki) which cracks at the edges each time Keiko's boyfriend reporter Kasai (played by a energetic Hiroyuki Nagato) gets closer to breaking the story.
Spoofing Nikkatsu's "Sun-Tribe" genre flicks with a crime syndicate run by a "Sun God" cult inside a temple, the screenplay by Ichiro Ikeda (who joined with Suzuki on Youth of the Beast (1963)) & Itaru Kikumura brilliantly continue to build the major theme of Suzuki's credits from this era, of the generational divide and the youth challenging the false authority of the prior generation, as the crusading Kasai chips at Junpei's grin,to expose the sleeping beast.