HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Youth of the Beast Bare-Faced CheekBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Jô Shishido, Misako Watanabe, Tamio Kawaji, Minako Katsuki, Daizaburô Hirata, Eiji Gô, Koichi Uenoyama, Akiji Kobayashi, Yuzo Kiura, Naomi Hoshi, Hiroshi Kôno, Eimei Esumi, Shuntarô Tamamura, Mizuho Suzuki, Zenji Yamada, Yuriko Abe, Ikuko Kimuro
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Tokyo, a pair of corpses have been found, a man and a woman, the latter having left a note stating this was a double suicide because he was married and she was his mistress, and they couldn't bear to live without each other when his wife was so adamant the marriage should endure. Making this all the more murky was the fact that the male half of the couple was a police inspector, but his colleagues on the force take the note at face value and close the case fairly swiftly. Later on, there's a new man in town, Jo Mizuno (Jô Shishido) who announces his presence by beating up a bunch of gangsters in the street, and going on to wreak mayhem in a restaurant club, then not even paying his bill there. Who is this guy and what is his problem?

Youth of the Beast was cult director Seijun Suzuki's first movie to really take the bull by the horns and do what he wanted with the style of the project. Alas for him, he was pretty much only a cult director in reputation once he had been fired by his studio for making films nobody could understand, such was the density and oblique nature of his storytelling, though that was precisely what attracted the attention of fans wishing for something that bit more eccentric in the varied landscape of the Japanese gangster flick, and today those followers eagerly collect every instance of Suzuki's idiosyncratic oeuvre available. It's ironic that for work that failed to find its audience way back when it has assuredly made up for that in popularity now he had long since retired.

Not that it has ever reached must-see blockbuster level for most of those who take an interest in movies, not even vintage gangster movies, yet for the folks who wanted something defiantly ploughing its own furrow, Suzuki's efforts were a distinctive, if not always coherent, treat. Even if you didn't quite make sense of everything going on in his movies, you could at least drink in the atmosphere and exquisitely composed cinematography, his colour material right up there with Mario Bava on the other side of the planet for vivid hues from the nineteen-sixties. Although Youth of the Beast (a deliberately nonsensical title which nevertheless gives you an idea of the weirdness to follow) began in black and white (and ended there, for that matter), the bulk of it was gloriously coloured and patterned.

As to the plot, in fact this was one of Suzuki's easier to understand narratives since it was more or less pinched from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo - if it was good enough for Sergio Leone it was good enough for him - as Jo sets about pitting two clans of gangsters against one another for reasons he does not reveal until the last few minutes of the film. That said, even with a fairly straightforward storyline there was a sense of watching five films at once, so densely packed were the visuals and so eventful, often downright bizarre, the scenes which breathlessly carried on as if either the director wanted to make the last word in Yakuza films or more likely, was so uninterested in presenting his characters, who were rather hackneyed, in a conventional manner that he was determined not to fit in.

You could tell you were in the hands of a rule breaker, but whether Suzuki was exhibiting contempt for a genre pressed upon him that he was not interested in, or whether he was making the best of his circumstances by kicking back and going his own way was up for debate. Certainly the characters do not behave in exactly the right way you'd expect, with tough gangsters tripping themselves up when faced with Jo, played by a staple of this type, Shishido, his cheek implants rendering him one of the most recognisable, if curiously fat-faced, stars in this decade (he came to regret the cosmetic surgery he had hoped would make him look like a tough guy). Jo cuts a swathe through these duplicitous and petty people, as anarchistic as the director until we find out what the method in his madness actually is. With scenes played in deep focus so we can appreciate an exotic dancer seen through a mirror in the background, or a scene apparently for the hell of it where one evildoer works himself up into a sadistic frenzy over his girlfriend, this was full of striking imagery. Music by Hajime Okumura.

Aka: Yajû no seishun
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1033 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Seijun Suzuki  (1923 - 2017)

A true rebel in the system, Seijun Suzuki marked out his distinctive style by taking a pop art approach to the gangster cliches he was ordered to make for the Nikkatsu studio, such as Youth of the Beast, Gate of Flesh, Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, but he eventually fell out with them over his wild visuals and spent a decade in the wilderness of television and the independents before he was rediscovered in the late seventies. He was making films into his eighties, with Pistol Opera and Princess Racoon winning acclaim in the 21st century.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: