5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I have seen.
I am fed up with people talking about how kill bill is such a good film. I watched this film about a week after I saw Kill Bill and I honestly think this is the better film. I watched it 3 times. The way Beat' integrates american and japanese culture makes this film standout. The scene where his luitenent plays basketball with one of his brothers friends stands out...
Published on June 9 2004 by Chris Campbell
3.0 out of 5 stars O "Brother", Are Thou "Art"?
This is the city. Los Angeles, California. Swimming pools, movie stars, and Yakuza hitmen fighting for control of the streets with Chicano druglords and African-American gangstas. Just another typical day in sunny SoCal, according to Japanese cult director "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, in his first U.S.-released film. Kitano directs himself as the "marked" Yakuza who flees to...
Published on March 19 2003 by D. Hartley
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films I have seen.,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)I am fed up with people talking about how kill bill is such a good film. I watched this film about a week after I saw Kill Bill and I honestly think this is the better film. I watched it 3 times. The way Beat' integrates american and japanese culture makes this film standout. The scene where his luitenent plays basketball with one of his brothers friends stands out. Another scene is when they go to attack the mafia, all you see is flashes of gunfire while this young boy is dead in the car. This is a moving film, asides the infruequent gore, You feel a great sympathy for the characters.
Kill bill has no technique at all especially when she is fighting the crazy 88 or whatever. I have seen more technique in Iron Monkey (an old skool martial arts film)The awkward ending leaves you distraught with no hope, but that is the point of the film and 'Beat' portays it that way.
2.0 out of 5 stars Insight for Japnophiles, but Hanabi was a better film,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)Brother may seem like a whole lot of meaningless gore, and in fact I don't think it was a particularly well-made or enjoyable movie, but it provides valuable insight into the Japanese perception of their place in the world. I'm not sure this was intended by the director, but it makes a very interesting contrast to, for example, "Rising Sun", another fairly average movie (can't comment on the book, haven't read it), which showed a very American perspective of the Japanese.
Whereas in Rising Sun, we saw the Japanese as sneaky little yellow men hiding their prejudices, corruption and kinky sex behind polite smiles and a facade of high culture, here Kitano portrays them (or at least the Yakuza) as noble, loyal, selfless, brave warriors, willing to sacrifice all to protect their honour. Quite a contrast!
Rising Sun showed Westerners (represented by the US alone, as usual) as passionate but ultimately rational, independent-minded for the better, and, for the most part at least, genuine (in a "what you see is what you get" sense). Kyoudai (incidentally, the title refers not to any blood relationship between the two main characters - there was none!, but to the "brotherhood" of the Yakuza) shows Westerners as emotionally out-of-control, intellectually lacking, hopelessly disorganised and incapable of any subtlety or restraint. From considerable experience in Japan I can assure you that this is an accurate representation of the stereotype held by many Japanese.
Another (I think) accurate representation of the Japanese mindset in this film lies in the ease with which the Japanese muscle-in on the US underworld. With their diligence, their capacity for cooperation and self-sacrifice towards long-term, collective goals, how could they possibly fail against this disorganised rabble of Westerners?! - this is the attitude presented, and mostly validated in this film. It's very interesting, then, that the "brotherhood" are ultimately unsuccessful in their power-bid. Is this a symbolic recognition that the US has remained militarily and economically supreme? At the least, I feel that the way in which Kitano's character dies again reflects an important facet of the Japanese mindset, being the attitude that there is only ever a choice of complete victory or total failure, conquering the whole of Asia or being stripped of all military power, scoring highly in the University entrance exams or dropping out of the academic world completely - there is absolutely no room for compromise or mediocrity, and thus a willingness follows to sacrifice everything in the bid for that absolute, and possibly elusive, victory. Of course, this has alarming implications for Japan's potential return to military and/or economic power.
But if you want, you can forget my interpretations and just see this movie as a whole lot of meaningless gore.
5.0 out of 5 stars Kitano Takes Over America,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)To describe "Brother" as Takeshi Kitano's American directorial debut is like saying Lost in Translation is a Japanese movie. The speaker would be missing the boat totally. In "Brother" we see Japan and America coming to a cataclysmic impact as Yamamoto (Kitano), a Yakuza mobster, is exiled from Japan and forced to live in America with his half-brother. When Kitano finds out that his brother is a small time drug dealer, Kitano takes his brother (as well as his gang) under his wing and turns them into a crime organization to be reckoned with. They take on a mexican cartel and italian mafia alike. However, we see the theme of brotherhood become more of a theme when he and Denny (played by Omar Epps), another small time drug dealer, create a bond that was never attained by his blood brother.
Kitano uses light and shadow to punctuate the drama, but the most awe inspiring element to his cinematic vision is the use of silence and stillness. When Kitano is on the screen, sometimes he stands like a statue. The silence in his films are deafening (for a remarkable example of this, I refer to the film "Violent Cop").
With the use of Japanese and English language, we are thrust among the cultural barrier of the gang. However, they are able to circumvent this and become true brothers.
1.0 out of 5 stars A Moment of Zen,
This review is from: Brother (VHS Tape)This is supposed to be an artsy movie about the yakuzas and their activities in America. However, it`s not more than an average, empty thriller that`s neither exciting nor funny, let alone creative or original. Takeshi Kitano, who both directs the picture and plays its asian main character, is devoid of charisma while he acts, using the same facial expression the whole time. There are lots of useless moments of pointless violence here, which try to have style and edgyness but fail miserably (Tarantino does it much better). "Brother" is a tedious, unengaging waste of time and is quickly forgotten. Meaningless.
4.0 out of 5 stars I havent seen a better Beat Takeshi Movie,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)I'll keep this short, I saw Fireworks and thought it was average at best, saw pieces of that kijuro or whatever its called with the little kid in it, that one was pretty good. I liked this movie alot and its the only reason I got into Takeshi Kitano movies, if I never happened to stumble accross this movie late night on Showtime or Cinemax I would have never sparked an interest. I'm not a sheep so I dont follow everyone elses opinions, and you can trust my reviews I wont say somethings good because everyone else does.
Try it out, Rent or buy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie,
By A Customer
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)Bottom line: This movie is incredible. Beat Takeshi is amazing in this gangster flic. I suggest everyone to buy at least 2 copies of this DVD , one for yourself and one for your mother. This movie is a must-have for anyone who enjoys off-beat , original gangster movies.
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Treatment by Sony Pictures,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)Kitano's "Brother�Egets eaten and spit out by Sony Pictures US. Not exactly a masterpiece, or the best movie he has done, but it gave a great insight into the Yakuza lifestyle rarely known outside of Japan. But on this DVD, the lackluster treatment of this movie is unforgivable.
If some of the story was a little on the unexplained side, maybe it's because the US version is 30 minutes shorter than the Japanese original. Most of the Japanese sequences were cut, so Americans won't have to read too many subtitles. Great move(?). The DTS audio option was thrown out for some reason, thinking people who might like this movie will not have a DTS decoder. Sony, get with the times!
The biggest problem I had with this DVD was that there were no English subtitles! It is listed as 'English Subtitles�Ebut in fact, it's English Closed Captions, so even when they are speaking English, the captions appear. Luckily I understand both languages, but for anyone else, they would be a headache to sit through.
Extras are very minimal, only trailers for completely unrelated Chinese movies? For a list price so high, it just seems smarter to get the fully loaded Region 2 Japanese release. Believe me the story makes a LOT more sense.
Also, the character that Tetsuya Watari plays is such a minor role in the US version, it was a shame that his name appears in the credits. If you want to check out a role where he actually is part of the MOVIE, get 'Tokyo Drifter�E(Criterion Collection). You'll be a lot happier with that film.
1.0 out of 5 stars Obtuse synthetic nonsense II,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)Seriously, the first review with this title nailed it. I saw a different Takeshi Kitano movie a few years back which was much more stylistically interesting (can't remember the name, but it was a Japanese film), so I know he's capable of making an interesting film. This isn't it. This film is a terrible waste of time.
3.0 out of 5 stars O "Brother", Are Thou "Art"?,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)This is the city. Los Angeles, California. Swimming pools, movie stars, and Yakuza hitmen fighting for control of the streets with Chicano druglords and African-American gangstas. Just another typical day in sunny SoCal, according to Japanese cult director "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, in his first U.S.-released film. Kitano directs himself as the "marked" Yakuza who flees to the States, hooks up with his "adopted" brother (a low-level L.A. drug dealer) and his pals, then becomes Crimelord of Los Angeles in what appears to be a period of only a month or two. Action fans will probably be somewhat sated just by the sheer number of killings (I stopped counting after the first 2 dozen) yet turned off by the deliberate pacing and long, static takes. Arthouse fans will admire the deft cinematic touches and hip music score, but will probably find the frequent shootings and self-mutilations a bit overboard. Kitano the actor (an acquired taste) is in top form; Kitano the director seems less confident than usual, as if he was deliberately "dumbing down" for U.S. audiences (and can anyone who has viewed a Vin Diesel movie blame him?). Best enjoyed if you don't think about it too much; genre fans might detect similarities to the existential 60's Yakuza cult classic "Tokyo Drifter".
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Gangster Movie--and a Breath of Fresh Air,
This review is from: Brother (Sous-titres français) (DVD)As introspective as it is violent, "Brother" manages to do what few Hollywood gangster films can--entertain and make you think. To call the plot Shakespearean almost seems an insult, as its sensibilities are so obviously Japanese, with the emphasis not on the action but on the effects of it, but careful observers may see strains of "Macbeth" and "Richard III" in this very grown-up feature (with a little Sergio Leone thrown in). Director and star Takeshi Kitano follows the last days of a disgraced Yakuza in America, whose brilliant but brutal rise to power in modern L.A. is matched only by the intensity of his loyalty to his friends and half-brother. Omar Epps is a likable presence as one of those friends, and the many familiar Japanese-American faces--including veteran James Shigeta--blends ably with the mostly Japanese cast. But it is Kitano that delivers the goods, wisely choosing to underplay Yamamoto as a pillar of quiet strength rather than allow him to become broad-based caricature. In fact, the understated tone of the film is what gives it so much style and intensity; few American films would be bold enough to focus less on the shoot 'em ups and more on the aftermath or to raise the issue of black-on-Asian racism in a gangster movie. That the story ends up pretty much where you expect it to is less a flaw than the culmination of a satisfying slow burn, making this gem a must-see.
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Brother (Sous-titres français) by Takeshi Kitano (DVD - 2002)
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