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SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Several hundred years after the bloody battle of Dannoura in 1185, the Genji and Heiki clans clash again over rumours of hidden gold in a poor mountain town. Yoshitsune (Yusuke Iseya) commands his Genji gang in white, while Kiyomori (Koichi Sato) leads his Heike gang in red. When a lone gunman (Hideaki Ito) drifts into town burdened by emotional scars but blessed with great fighting skills, both sides speculate as to which he will join.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Of the many notable elements of Sukiyaki Western Django, Toyomichi Kurita's exceptional lighting camerawork is supreme. The film is worth watching at least twice, the second time just for the visual elements. The colours are beautifully combined, light and shadow dramatically used, as the images pay tribute to the great old men of Spaghetti Westerns like Sergio Leone, who loved to follow the extreme close up with a wide shot.

The music, too, revisits the sounds and motifs of those westerns where a lone trumpet or a whistle would conjure up a mood. Takashi Miike, here working with English dialogue, captures the essential chaos of pulp pop cinema, letting blood and guts spill across the screen before jump cutting to a child's frightened face as his father lies dying. Almost every frame is like a part of a collection of classic images.

The acting is variable, and Quentin Tarantino's cameos - one as the older version of the young gunman, Ringo - are pretty weak, although in the context they add a layer of humour. The fights and stunts are all lavishly executed, and many have a sense of fun that is also apparent elsewhere - mixing oddly with some of the more dramatic material. But then this is a real cocktail of genres, moods and tones, from the samurai traditions to the various Western styles to the straight out actioner. Gloriously B movie credentials!

Published October 16, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO: DVD (R)
(Japan, 2007)

CAST: Hideaki Ito, Masanobu Ando, Koichi Sato, Kaori Momoi, Yuseke Iseya, Renji Ishibashi, Yoshino Kimura, Quentin Tarantino

PRODUCER: Masato Osaki, Nubuyuki Tohya

DIRECTOR: Takashi Miike

SCRIPT: Takashi Miike, Masa Nakamura

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Toyomichi Kurita

EDITOR: Taiji Shimamura

MUSIC: Koji Endo

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Takashi Sasaki

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1; [English subtitles]

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

DVD RELEASE: October 16, 2008






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