Make Your Picks

6th HOF-Sonatine

Tools    





I just watched this tonight. Being a pretty big crime and gangster film guy I thought it was something that could potentially appeal to me. But it really didn't. It's more to do with my taste certainly as I know there are a lot of mofos who really like this film. The characters felt hollow to me and there seemed to be a cultural barrier between the film and my viewing. The film was shot really well, but that's the only positive I could get out of it. The story bored me and the ending that a lot of people probably really like just didn't quite resonate with me. 1 down, 16 to go.



Sorry to hear you didn't care for it, raul. I for one, think it's a kickass film, but it's been some time so I can't really elaborate. I guess a rewatch is due.



Just finished Sonatine. A whole lot of style, and very little substance. I can see fans of 80's action flicks really going for this. That is not me. Its nice to look at, I give it that. Having a bit of a dry run here. Brokeback should be here Wednesday, so hopefully that will break the streak.



Just finished Sonatine. A whole lot of style, and very little substance. I can see fans of 80's action flicks really going for this. That is not me. Its nice to look at, I give it that. Having a bit of a dry run here. Brokeback should be here Wednesday, so hopefully that will break the streak.
I almost feel like you didn't watch the right film after reading that

IMO there is an incredible amount of substance in Sonatine, as there is in all of Kitano's serious movies. They are also very personal which gives them an extra layer of depth. This is a character study of, to put it simply, a man suffering from depression and wondering why he should bother going on. His story also exists within a gangster movie that is very critical of the violence driven Japanese gangster lifestyle - shown by the moments of violence that seem to mean little to any of the people involved.

Kitano was dealing with depression himself when this was made - he almost died after making it ... in a motorbike crash while he was drunk and not wearing a helmet. He himself calls it an unconscious suicide attempt.

The picture above shows him smiling whilst playing Russian roulette which is one of the few times in the movie he shows any emotion - also pointing towards his emotional state.

Anyway, I think it's a near masterpiece and I think fans of 80s action movies would hate it because there is almost no action. It is much more like French gangster movies in that it is about depression & loneliness rather than being "entertaining".

IMO it's a really good nomination ... although I like Fireworks more



I get what your saying about the violence Sane. It does come in short bursts. The style was very reminiscent of 80's action flicks though. The dress, comedic aspects, and dialogue all screamed 80's action. I got that he was a depressed man looking for something different. I definitely don't feel like this was explored very much though. I need more than blank stares.



Master of My Domain
Yeah this isn't the enjoyable gangster film you would expect from someone, for example, Martin Scorcese. Instead of having lots of entertaining talk between the characters, having lots of pop songs, being fast paced etc its the exact opposite, and why I really enjoy this film.

One comment about the Kitano blank expressions, from my thoughts, can be explained with Japanese culture. I'm not trying to stereotype ot anything, but Japanese people tend to conceal their emotions, especially facial ones. It has to do with the main philosophy that has ruled Japan for years that I can't recall. Anyways, this makes the film interesting as you need to guess what the characters are going through without being explained directly, and can relate to you, sort of like Hello Kitty dolls that are proven to be popular because of an expressionless face that feels sad when you are sad, and happy when you are happy. It may sound strange to use this kind of analogy, but that's what I felt. Also as others above me mentioned, Kitano's character is a study of a depressed man trying to find the reason to live.

Overall, this film becomes more and more a masterpiece once you get to realize it from thinking and rewatching. If it stays the same, then its simply not a film for you.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I just finished Sonatine, and it's about what I expected. In recent times, I've become a big fan of Japanese cinema, but mostly much older movies. A lot of the Japaness movies I've watched from the last 20 years, I just don't like the style. Thankfully, this didn't have a lot of that style that I don't like. It could've been a little more consistent in it's grittiness, but overall, this wasn't a problem for me. I thought the violence was just right, not too much or too little. As others have said, it comes in quick, sudden bursts, and I like that. I did think the movie had a few short lulls that took away from my consistent enjoyment. Kitano was terrific, but I looked at him more as a cool character, rather then a man with inner conflict. That inner conflict was definitely present, but I only connected with that aspect of his character in a small way. If I had gotten more involved with his character, as opposed to just enjoying it, I probably would've liked the movie a bit more. As it was, I thought it was a solid crime film with an excellent lead performance.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
And by lulls, I don't mean scenes in between the action, but rather just some scenes that I didn't care for. The scene with the circle at the beach for example, and other scenes when Kitano wasn't on screen.



I just finished Sonatine, and it's about what I expected. In recent times, I've become a big fan of Japanese cinema, but mostly much older movies. A lot of the Japaness movies I've watched from the last 20 years, I just don't like the style. Thankfully, this didn't have a lot of that style that I don't like. It could've been a little more consistent in it's grittiness, but overall, this wasn't a problem for me. I thought the violence was just right, not too much or too little. As others have said, it comes in quick, sudden bursts, and I like that. I did think the movie had a few short lulls that took away from my consistent enjoyment. Kitano was terrific, but I looked at him more as a cool character, rather then a man with inner conflict. That inner conflict was definitely present, but I only connected with that aspect of his character in a small way. If I had gotten more involved with his character, as opposed to just enjoying it, I probably would've liked the movie a bit more. As it was, I thought it was a solid crime film with an excellent lead performance.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like it more. Sonatine is one of my favorites of Kitano, who has for a long time been my favorite director. I adore the distinctiveness in his style. I love the mix of serenity, humor, and hardcore violence.
I haven't watched it in a while, but I really respect Sonatine for the unique way it tells a Yakuza story. I like how it is unique, but also at the same time pays homage to the older Japanese films, especially those of Ozu.


The "lulls" were what I liked about it!
I too love the lulls! I love all the beach scenes where they're just screwing around.



So I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Visually it was really beautiful (though I kept thinking of Miami Vice for some reason) and there were quite a few scenes that I really enjoyed, especially those of the guys just killing time at the house, but I really didn't feel anything for any of its characters.Overall I wasn't bored by it and I think it's a solid film, but I wasn't overly impressed.




Of the nominees I haven't seen, this one looks/sounds the coolest. Too bad the reception has been lukewarm at best. Hopefully Gatsby doesn't slap any of you around like he does the kids he tutors.
__________________



I've seen pretty much all Kitano's films ever since I discovered him in the late 90s. I rate Sonatine up there with only Hana Bi better . Sane sums it up well in his post above about Kitano and his depression which I think is a key reason why this film is as it is. I see it as a deliberate nihilistic film coming as it does after his first two violent Yakuza films. The self destructive mindset in Sonatine seems directly to reflect his real life . See at the end where he could've easily disappeared with the pretty girl who was waiting for him, instead halfway down the road, almost within sight of her, he shoots himself in the head.

You probably know he's a comedian as well as an actor and director , but he's always had a particularly childish sense of humour as anyone who has seen Takeshis Castle will know. The silly, and I think funny, games in Sonatine aren't out of character as I think he plays most of his roles from out of facets of his own personality.

The yakuza aspects of the film are traditional ones out of lots of yakuza films - the trainees, the Don, the sudden bursts of temper, the double crossing, the violence with no emotion - those aren't original to Kitano but they're done very well. Kitano's taciturn persona and the seemingly bizarre juxtaposition of humour and extreme violence are unsettling. Attempts to read emotion in their blank faces is fruitless and adds to your bewilderment as a minute before you were probably laughing . This is the way of the Kitano