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Sukiyaki Western Django

Year: 2007
Production Co: Dentsu Productions Ltd
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Takashi Miike
Cast: Quentin Tarantino
Here's a classic example of what's wrong with movies. Not this movie in particular, but the movies as an institution.

Not to go off too far into a rant, but at its core cinema is a medium for telling stories, no different than books. And sure there are remakes, references and reboots of old stuff, but what excites me the most about movies is to see something I haven't seen before, to be told a story I've never heard. Every one of the filmmaking crafts - make-up, special effects, camera angles and props - should be parts of that effort.

And sure, a Leone-inspired Asian western take on the oft-told story is a thrilling new angle, but the pertinent term here is 'oft-told'. I've seen The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Yojimbo, Last Man Standing and the endless movies that borrow elements from this legend, but how many more times to I have to sit through a movie about a small town held hostage by two warring gangs and the drifter who plays them off each other?

If you're in the least familiar with classic or cult movies you know the story, so I won't waste keystrokes describing it, and if you're not as bored as I am you might be excited by Miike's approach. Thematically, tonally and narratively the title sums it up perfectly - all macho swagger, hammy overacting and starkly either/or good and evil.

The contrasts are interesting, such as that between the eastern sensibility and western setting, the costumes are lavish and Miike tones down his usual bloodletting, which makes for a still fairly violent and at times exploitative film - especially when it comes to dealing with its female characters.

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