Mr. Arkadin

June 2016: Tokyo Drifter

30 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Ryan H. said:

Tarantino's greatest contribution to cinema culture may not be his own distinctive films, but rather the attention he has brought to filmmakers outside of the "canonical" stream.

While I think Tarantino is a much better stylist and writer than any of his detractors give him credit for, I can't really argue with this. It will be his lasting legacy that his films act as a kind of alternative film school.

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19 hours ago, Anders said:

While I think Tarantino is a much better stylist and writer than any of his detractors give him credit for, I can't really argue with this. It will be his lasting legacy that his films act as a kind of alternative film school.

My impression is that Tarantino would be happy with that; doesn't he say somewhere that his own film school was just the movies he watched while working at a rental store?

I'd be interested in hearing more about how this movie interacts with other yakuza films.

And, on a totally different note, what is it with this movie and hair dryers? They name-drop two distinct brands in a way that is too blatant to be insignificant, I think. Is the movie taking the Ian Fleming approach of naming brands in order to establish a sense of "realism"--and since when was realism an important quality for this film?

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2 hours ago, NBooth said:

And, on a totally different note, what is it with this movie and hair dryers? They name-drop two distinct brands in a way that is too blatant to be insignificant, I think. Is the movie taking the Ian Fleming approach of naming brands in order to establish a sense of "realism"--and since when was realism an important quality for this film?

One of those scenes feels like an advertisement inserted into the film--IIRC, it's more than just a passing reference, it's a pause in the story focusing on the hairdryer's qualities, complete with a shot of a poster/ad of the hairdryer. I found it all to be pretty funny, but whether Suzuki's intention is laughter is anyone's guess. I doubt realism is the motive here, as it's all far too playful. Could the inclusion be related to the studio he worked for, and their influence on the film? Or the film's heightened awareness of fashion?

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I watched this again a couple nights ago, and I thought it was even more fun a second time. Partially, because I was prepared for Suzuki's abrupt editing style, which made the simple plot seem more confusing than it was on a first viewing, but more so because I really appreciated the seamless integration of jazz, vibrant colour, and pulpy action. As a film which is ultimately about the difficulty for a gangster to go straight, all of the film - the sets, the other characters, the plot, the lighting, the music, the editing - contributes to that pulp fiction atmosphere which keeps him in the world he knows. Even as he drifts in an attempt to escape, he repeatedly sings the title song which he learned from his girlfriend, which serves as a tether to that central gangster/jazz/club/pulp saturation which permeates the film so wonderfully.

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So, I'm a little late to the party but I managed to finally catch this a few days ago.

I concur with the view that the characters and plot are hard to follow in places.  For me the scene that best encapsulates how this film is handled is when Tetsuya leaves that elderly fellow only to have him call out desperately for Tetsuya to return.  So Tetsuya returns and the film cuts to the elderly guy talking on the phone to someone else.... completely ignoring Tetsuya.  This when there was absolutely no possible way that he could have been on the phone in time.

It ignores typical film logic on several levels.  But that's the thing about this film, it constantly and gleefully ignores typical "rules" in so many ways, so much so that it kind of disarms any grievance against this, and a guy is left just resting in the film for what it is and enjoying what it has to offer.  For good or ill, there's nothing I've seen out there that is quite like this film.

 

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