Movies By Request

We decided a few weeks ago to do some movies outside the collection for those who occasionally suggest films to us.  While this blog is mainly for the movies that we own, what they mean to us and how they have influenced our lives, we watch movies all the time.  I think it’s rather obvious but I have come to really enjoy writing about these films so we are going to start writing about some new ones on occasion.  These films will be put in their own category “Movies By Request” much like the “Movies Not To Watch” that we occasionally post.   The movies in this section will be ones suggested to us through friends, Facebook, and comments on the blog. For the first “Movies By Request” we have seen a film someone suggested to us on Facebook.

The Yakuza

Year: 1975
Directed By: Sydney Pollack
Written By: Paul Schrader and Robert Towne


When Amber told me someone had suggested this film on Facebook I had never heard of it but was immediately interested because of the title alone.  I am very interested in criminal organizations of all kinds and the Japanese Yakuza is an organization I don’t know enough about.  I find Japanese culture really fascinating though and really enjoy films that do a good job contrasting our two very different ways of life. I am also already interested in this film because it was directed by Sydney Pollack.  We don’t own any of his films and when he died a few years ago I remember wondering why we hadn’t seen more of his films.    

This is the kind of movie that I can see will get better each time I watch it.  It has a deep and significant story that you can pick up more with each viewing. I am a huge fan of movies about something real and this movie definitely qualifies there.  It has a story that focuses on the nearly forgotten problems that preceded Japan’s economic boom in the 1970s and the changes that came after. The screenplay was written by long-established and well-known Hollywood screenwriters Paul Schrader and Robert Towne.  Robert Mitchum did a great job playing the Bronson-esque retired detective Kilmer.  The co-staring role was exceptional because Ken Takakaru was cast.  Not often were Asian actors given significant roles in American films at the time.  I like to think that Bruce Lee and his success the year before with Enter The Dragon paved the way for Takakura in this role.  He did a great job and was specifically good in the climactic ending when he and Kilmer clean house at the Yakuza gambling den.

This movie reminds me a lot of the Roger Moore James Bond films because many of them were made in the same era.  There are no similarities as far as theme or plot go but in the style of the movies.  The cinematography of the decade is where the similarities are. As viewers today we typically demand more action, more blood, and more death from our action films.  I tend to prefer the honest action films of our fathers though, the movies like this where the hero could be an aged man enjoying his retirement. The movie can indulge the story more because viewers had more patience back then.  It makes for a better movie all around and that is the case in this film.

This film was brought to our attention by Lionell on Facebook who said that it was his favorite film.  I am happy he took the time to respond to the question because I enjoyed the movie and hope I have encouraged others to see it. If you have a movie you would like reviewed feel free to let us know and we will work it in.

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