- 1 hr 34 min
Sonatine is a Japanese film released in 1993, directed and written by Takeshi Kitano, who also stars as the main character, Murakawa. This movie tells the story of a gangster leader named Murakawa, who works for a Yakuza clan in Tokyo. He is sent with his team to Okinawa to settle a dispute between two rival gangs. However, things don't go as planned, and Murakawa and his team find themselves stuck in a seaside villa, waiting for their boss's orders.
Kitano's movie stands out because of his directorial style and his screen presence, which is both stoic and charismatic. The movie starts with a violent scene, showing us the brutal world of the Yakuza, but it soon shifts towards a quieter tone, exploring the characters' psyche and the meaning of violence. In that sense, Sonatine is a movie that subverts the expectations of the crime genre, presenting violence not as a means to an end, but as a reflection of a deeper emptiness.
The movie's early scenes establish Murakawa's character as an enigma, as he is shown barely speaking, always looking contemplative or bemused. His dry sense of humor, however, is not lost on his team or the other characters around him. He is complemented by his team, which includes the hot-blooded and trigger-happy Ken (played by Susumu Terajima) and the more subdued, honor-bound Takahashi (played by Tetsu Watanabe).
Once they arrive in Okinawa, Murakawa meets a woman named Miyuki (played by Aya Kokumai), who works at the villa where they are staying. She offers a brief respite from the tension of the Yakuza world, as she introduces them to joyous and seemingly carefree games, like playing with fireworks or dancing in the beach.
As the days go by, the Yakuza start to get antsy, as they realize that something is amiss. This leads to a series of violent confrontations, as the villa becomes the stage for a deadly game of cat and mouse. However, even amidst the chaos, Kitano finds room for moments of stillness, which emphasizes the fragility of life and the futility of violence.
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie takes place during the titular sonatine, as Murakawa and his team take a break from their duties and start playing a comical game of catch. This moment of levity is juxtaposed with the knowledge that their situation is dire, and that they might not make it out of Okinawa alive. It is a testament to Kitano's ability as a filmmaker to create tension and catharsis through simple, quiet moments.
Overall, Sonatine is a thought-provoking movie that combines violence, humor and existentialism in a unique and compelling way. It is a standout from Kitano's filmography, which includes other masterpieces like Hana-Bi and Violent Cop. It is a movie that asks difficult questions, about the nature of human relationships, the role of violence in society, and the pursuit of meaning in a world that seems devoid of it. It is a must-see for fans of crime movies, world cinema, or anyone looking for a movie that challenges their assumptions.
Sonatine is a 1993 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 73.