Synopsis by Judd Blaise
Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker, comedian, television star, author, and all-around renaissance man Takeshi "Beat" Kitano stars in this unconventional take on the crime drama. Kitano portrays Murakawa, a successful Yakuza officer who has grown weary of the violent life, so much so that he has even considered retirement. Thus, he is not pleased when he is asked to lead a team to help defuse a gang war in Okinawa but agrees when he is assured it will be an easy job. It proves anything but, however, and he soon finds himself in the middle of a complex, bloody conflict. Fearing that he has been set up, Murakawa withdraws to a nearby coastal town. The film takes a trademark Kitano turn at this point, moving away from the standard crime drama plot to focus on what amounts to a gangster's summer vacation, with the killers playing frisbee on the beach and taking dancing lessons. Murakawa even finds a summer romance, falling in love with a local girl who is impressed by his way with a gun. This sunny idyll cannot last forever, however, and soon the realities of the criminal life catch up with them. Seen as a prime example of Kitano's style, Sonatine features a combination of deadpan comedy and unexpectedly romantic lyricism, periodically interrupted by shockingly sudden bursts of violence.
gangster, gang-war, coast, rival
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance