We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Outlasting everyone is the best revenge these days," a cop tells a gangster in Takeshi Kitano's 2010 gangster thriller "Outrage." Maybe, if you're a gangster; but if you're a moviegoer, the best revenge is revenge. Audiences don't buy tickets to yakuza thrillers hoping for sensitive pacifist statements. They want to see more of what Kitano has given them in so many Japanese crime thrillers: betrayals and retributions marked by punitive violence so cruel that when the film cuts away from it, it's as if Kitano has shielded your eyes for you.
"Outrage" was a banquet of suffering. Signature dishes included a slashed face, a half-bitten tongue, anesthesia-free dentistry, chopsticks through the ear, and severed fingers in noodle soup. "Beyond Outrage" doesn't really go "beyond" in any sense except pushing the story a bit further. There are gruesome acts of violence, including a torture-by-drill, but for the most part Kitano seems content to expand on one of his biggest hits by taking a page or two from Francis Coppola's "Godfather" trilogy.
The original was a closed-off suspense picture about men in suits plotting death and disfigurement in Rembrandt-lit boardrooms, restaurants and nightclubs. The gore was somewhat intertwined with a cop corruption subplot (represented by Fumiyo Kohinata's Detective Kataoka, who did favors for one of the warring clans), but for the most part—as in "The Godfather"—what happened in the underworld stayed in the underworld. In "Beyond Outrage," which is set five years after the bloody coup that ended the first film, the violence has spilled out in to the wider world, a la the second and third "Godfather" pictures.
The new Grand Yakuza leader of the Sanno-Kai syndicate, Kato (Tomokazu Miura), has raised the family's profile and profit margins. The family is doing business with the national government so openly that it doesn't hesitate to kill a troublesome police detective and his nightclub hostess girlfriend (a go-between for the gangsters and cops) and dump them in a river. Kato and his lieutenant and chief financial officer Ishihara (Ryo Case) have promoted younger family members over older, more traditional gangsters, partly to protect themselves against counter-plots by people who rightly suspect that they murdered their predecessors. The new bosses order young and old gangsters alike to learn a new, white-collar way of making money. There's talk of stocks and hedge funds, and references to the family's prostitution business going global.