Dec 2, 2003

Japanese Gangsters go to the Beach
"Boss, isn’t it too childish?" a Yakuza henchmen asks after the boss laughs at his henchmen tumbling into another sandtrap on the beach.

"What else can I do?" he says, and that’s the film in two sentences.

Sonatine is a film about gangsters playing, about the sweetness of life contrasted with the bitter taste of blood, about living while you can and doing what you have to do, about the innocence of murderers.

The gunfights are staccato, with long periods of hiding on the beach that form the soul of the movie. For most of the film the gangsters play paper sumo wrestlers, throw a Frisbee, shot each other with roman candles, they prank each other, tease each other, and make fun of each other. All with hilarious deadpan humor.

What makes this film a worthy worthy contribution to the genre of gangster films is that this isn’t about violence, mainly, but about the still times between violence. As the Godfather is really about family with mafia as a background, so this is about peace and stillness against the set of the Yakuza.

This is highly recommended.