Tetsu has joined his yakuza boss in going straight, but when a rival gang threatens to bring them back into the gang wars, Tetsu must become a drifter to keep the pressure off his old boss
He's the Tokyo Drifter. Drifting, drifting on and on. Till memories of Tokyo are gone.
When I watched this a while back, I knew I had fallen in love with the film when that "Tokyo Drifter" theme started cracking and scenes of Japan nightlife rolled past in the background. And after rewatching it again tonight I learned two things.
1. That theme never gets old
2. This film somehow got even more cool.
I imagine if Le Samourai mad Blade Runner had a one night stand and produced a bastard child, Tokyo Drifter would probably be that bastard child. Or something very similar to that... It's like an antithesis to a noir film. It's got the *almost* loner type main…
Film #7 in The June Challenge
Tokyo Drifter is an incredibly beautiful looking movie, with an intensely stylistic visual language that bursts onto the screen in an explosion of colours. Seijun Suzuki creates an innovative genre picture with this film, one that challenges traditional narrative form and style.
The most interesting features of the film are its editing and production design, each of which are reminiscent of a manga projected on-screen. The film utilizes interesting filters and lighting to create immense visual beauty, and some of the action scenes are elegantly composed. The final action scene is especially notable for the changes in lighting that complement the mood of our hero, as the scene becomes lighter as his rage dissipates.…
Tokyo Drifter is a rather self-aware Nikkatsu Action film from one of the genre's best, Seijun Suzuki. What can sometimes seem random to a viewer unexperienced in the genre, is often Suzuki stretching genre conventions to absurd and dizzying heights. Suzuki made a film where the main character is actually empowered by the cliches of his genre. In one scene our hero manages to psych out a group of assassins by singing his theme song out loud whilst they scramble to find him. Almost as if these assassins realise what film they're in, they begin to shake with fear at hearing the main character's theme echoing throughout the spacious building.
On a first watch the plot may seem to be…
My first foray into the filmography of Seijun Suzuki! I've been waiting for this moment for quite some time...I'm not actually sure why I waited so long.
The opening black and white sequence was astounding - the tracks and railyards perfectly framed and, of course, the ending of that opening. Tetsu stumbling down the side of the train, shot from the other side so you only see his feet, that is until he retires between two of the railcars; Pretty much perfection right there.
Then the film jumps to color - signifying the cool, hip and modern Tokyo that the film takes place in. Albeit with a character caught between two worlds - the modern world…
Tetsuya: "You've lost your sense of obligation."
Kenjii: "Is that bad?"
"Tokyo Drifter" follows Tetsuya, a former Yakuza elite who alongside his gang has abandoned a life of crime. Sadly for Tetsuya leaving behind his Yakuza past is not so easy as shortly thereafter a rival gang attempts to recruit him. Tetsuya's refusal leads to the rival gang sending an assassin to kill him and so Tetsuya must abandon his "charmed life" in Tokyo in order to survive.
I found that due to the cultural and generational barriers in place between this film and I it was sometimes difficult to empathize with the characters and their decisions. This meant that I sometimes found myself to be drawn out of the…
Tokyo Drifter is a bit of a mess, but it's certainly a very pretty mess.
I really think this could've been a good 30 minutes longer to really flesh it out (and to give me more of those visuals!). There are a lot of characters and so much going on in the early stages that it was a bit of a chore to follow. Eventually it evens out but I won't deny it took away from my enjoyment. Maybe it was intentional, who knows, but I wasn't a fan of the super fast pacing. Maybe I took a bit too seriously.
Speaking of the visuals - wow. The colours, camera work and shot composition are beautiful to look at and…
Nearly a masterpiece. Compensates for its sloppy plot and odd editing choices by having a sublime sense of style and a theme song that will be stuck in my head for days.
Astonishing use of colors!
The epitome of cool. Eye violence that pre-dates Fulci.
This film is all over the place.
Gorgeous and impossibly spot-on collage depicting what happens when the styles of Antonioni's 1966 mod-gaud aesthetic, Tarantino's KILL BILL, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER by way of Bollywood, and Melville's LE SAMOURAI all non-chronologically, er, drift into each other in a cinematic intersection that, for our purposes 47 years later, may as well be precedent for all those beautiful movies & auteurs even if there's no way TOKYO DRIFTER had the audience to make that a possibility.
To say Seijun Suzuki was ahead of his time
(especially in terms of filming satisfying fistfights & shootouts!)
would be an understatement
(Anyone else have thoughts of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY's penultimate white-floored "dinner scene" during TOKYO DRIFTER's desaturated psychedelic penultimate scene?),
but it would also be…
Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't comprehend or follow the story very well, it seemed like a mess of events and characters. If someone were to ask me to summarize the events, I wouldn't know what to say for most of the parts. It seemed longer than it really is. The visual style was great, the vibrant colors, and the camerawork as well. Some truly beautiful frames.
Visually stunning and a true feast for the eyes, this mid 60's Yakuza tale centers around the theme of loyalty.
Tetsu is a former yakuza hitman who has joined his boss in going straight and becoming honest businessmen. However as another yakuza boss is putting pressure on Tetsu's boss, Tetsu is asked to leave Tokyo in order to help settle a peace arrangement.
While traveling, drifting through Japan, Tetsu is chased by a hitmen. He manages to keep evading those attacks until ultimately he learns that he has been betrayed by his former boss and he decides to return to Tokyo to confront his boss.
Storywise it is your standard Yakuza crime thriller, but the approach is refreshing and beautiful, with stylized sets, vibrant cartoonish colours and a naggingly insistent theme song (which you cannot get out of your head!).
Thank the heavens Seijun Suzuki didn’t take orders from his higher-ups and give in to pressure to tone down his work. Instead, he blasted the screen with more creativity and whacked out action than ever. Somewhere beyond inventive lies the scientific verbiage to describe the heroism Suzuki maintained during the pre and post production surrounding Tokyo Drifter. His style and humor rubbed many the wrong way but the light I see it in, Drifter shines on proving that he did everything his way and won out. It’s a collision of color and shadows, where caution exits and sensory upheaval begins.
Hitman Phoenix (Tetsuya Watari) is suddenly walking a tightrope between his old gang and a rival gang. It’s hinging on…