15 February 2009 | suchenwi
All in a day's work
I ended a week-end of Japan movies with Agitator (others were Drunken Angel, Ikiru, Memoirs of a Geisha, Letters from Iwo Jima, Sky High). Quite a package...
From Miike, I had watched Bird People before, which I liked very much. Having checked IMDb and Wikipedia before, I was prepared for yakuza violence. And it sure was delivered - but in a way that keeps me wondering.
The (often bloody, then again often quite management-like) power struggles inside the organization make around half of the film. The other half is a mix of seemingly documentary material (with too brief sketches of childhood and romance), giving some impression of what else is in a yakuza's day's work besides shootings. That may even be looking at a flower, or a child playing an electric organ, or spoon-feeding a tied-up prisoner. And such scenes tend to settle deeper in me than yet another blood gusher. The subplot of the noodle-delivery boy being turned into a yakuza apprentice, tattoo and all, was very strong.
What surprised me (but then, I'm a Miike newbie) was the total absence of The Law. While in Bollywood movies police is a toothless tiger, but at least cruises around in jeeps sometimes, here it is just non-existent. A bleak world view for a non-yakuza, but still, this is a very thought-provoking movie.