Description: Welcome in the underworld, on your left there’s some gangsters, on your right be careful there’s shootings, murders, betrayals… Enjoy the jazzy mood !
Three killers stole money and drugs from a gangsters meeting. They left with a hostage and a lot of dead bodies behind. Well, that’s not a big deal for them, they stay relax, and don’t rush to sell the drugs. After the massacre, they just go back to their flat and spend a good time. Except one of them, who decides otherwise. He’s tired of staying there doing nothing, and so leave with the hostage. Does he want to start his life again or he’s just too ambitious ?
Wakamatsu has already shown the underworld, but until now, it was just a bunch of men living out of the system whose function, was to disturb the story of the prime characters. Gangsters always have a sadistic side, so proud to torture and humiliate others. In this film, the underworld is the prime interest, this is no more a minor thing that interrupts another story. On the contrary, now, this is the gangsters who tried to run away from this world, to humiliate it because they’re fed up ! The robbery at the beginning is a good example, three killers killing easily a bunch of armed gangsters. No pity for them !
The first character (Ken Yoshizawa), a cool killer wearing sunglasses, is the product of the gangsters’ hate and comtempt. In fact, he has a trauma. A long time ago, he was a small thief, he was caught with his girlfriend by yakuzas. He didn’t want to run away from his responsibilities. Too bad, with his girlfriend, they were humiliated in front a handicapped and voyeur chief. To underline the trauma, the scene was shot in colors. In this scene, our killer lost a phalanx and his dignity. His girlfriend has become a prostitute drug-addict. The underworld isn’t glamor, those people are mean and sadistics.
For once, Wakamatsu decides to change the location, why staying inside of a building ? So this time, Wakamatsu shot the city, the modern buildings and the slums (separated by only one street). The changing is quite slow, first we see the habitations of the slums then the cold modernity. In both cases, the first character can’t stay lock in. Each times, he has to get away from these rat-traps. Even after the robbery, he prefers to go outside. It’s a way to discover the city by night and see the dirty streets where poor peoples are trying to survive.
Once the city known, men go to the rural era. To go there, they take train, it goes so fast they can’t even enjoy what they’re seeing ! But, again, they’re locked into a box, waiting to get to their destination. And again, the modernity take apart man from his environment. It’s a necessary problem to discover natural places far from cities.
With this movie, Wakamatsu confirms his interest for violence. Here, all men have a gun they’re using to defend themselves. Meaning, they can kill. This is no more a marginal object, gun becomes something normal. And so, dead bodies. Gangsters don’t belong to the society, they live with their own rules and desires without having any report to do. Nobody’ll come to disturb them, mainly because their answer is the way of the gun. Even inside this world, an outlaw fears only bullets. But maybe, gun can be a way to become free, see the first character.
The cool killer keeps a strange aura, he never gives too much information to other people. For example, he decides to end his friendship with the 2 other killers. He wants to get away from this clan where life is only about murders and money. There’s no human feel, they’re just beast doing their mission the best they can. At one moment, Wakamatsu will show the killers eating chicken, except for our cool killer, he prefers salad (and he’s not weak at all). When they’re eating, they’re like pigs, they’re disgusting ! This scene is funny because even though they have a wild behaviour, their faces are calm and focused. Those killers are heartless, ready to eat even an innocent poor animal !
All this friendship story is the second part of the film, when the 2 killers go looking for their ex-friend traitor. This relation will be inverted in Violence Without A Cause where there’ll be only 1 student left on the 3, story of a friendship destructed by desperation. In this film, it’s not about running away from the group, because without it, the students don’t really exist. Here, the cool killer is trying to find his freedom. He doesn’t want to be part of a small world hypocrite like the society. The final shot feels like an irony (or a tragedy), finally those killers become human slops, victims of their own rules and dreams. They’re brutally bring back to their own reality of selfish and useless men, still dominated by a powerful society. The group can’t give freedom to man, he’s still living under rules made a hypocrite society. Is Wakamatsu saying it’s useless to believe that a group of people can change the society ? I guess so.
(Review taken from wildgrounds.com)