Film, Thrillers

Time Out says

The terrific thing about Sonatine is its freshness, its ability to surprise. Basically, it's a slightly offbeat variation on the traditional yakuza thriller, with Kitano as Murakawa, the taciturn, influential hit-man who, pushed by his boss to involve himself in an Okinawa gang war, comes to realise that he wants out. But what's truly arresting is the star/director's attitude towards the film's formal qualities. Structurally, the movie - like a sonata - is tripartite. It starts fortissimo with tempestuous scenes of gangland machinations and warfare. Then when Murakawa and his men take refuge in a coastal hideaway, their surreal, jokey seaside antics have all the light playfulness of a scherzo. While the final lyrical focus on death is virtually an adagio of moody introspection. Challenging, witty, adventurous and utterly singular.


Release details

94 mins

Cast and crew

Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano
Aya Kokumai
Masanobu Katsumura
Susumu Terashima
Takeshi Kitano
Tetsu Watanabe
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