Gonin Saga

(Japan, 2015, 130 mins, HDCAM)
International Premiere
Director:
CAST Higashide Masahiro, Kiritani Kenta, Ando Masanobu, Sato Koichi

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Ishii Takashi’s Gonin (VIFF 1995) set the standard for neo-noir yakuza movies with its tale of five down-on-their-luck men taking on a powerful yakuza gang, the Goseikai—and facing deadly reprisals. Twenty-years-later, the sequel Gonin Saga brings this story up to date. Several of the original five mavericks had families: Hisamatsu, for example, left a wife and son. The new film’s intricate plotting is kinda complicated (a look at the original on DVD would help), but Ishii Takashi starts by clarifying the messy fall-out from the original fracas and then moves rapidly forward to the present day. Hisamatsu’s son Hayato (new star Higashide Masahiro) has an honest, crime-free life but is best friends with Ogoshi’s son Daisuke, who’s still working as a bodyguard for the gang. It all kicks off when a reporter asks Hayato’s mother to reveal the truth about the original attack on the Goseikei—and soon history is threatening to repeat itself. You may not follow the plot’s twists and turns, but don’t worry: all the acts of treachery and betrayal cohere into an ultra-hard-boiled vision of "yakuza DNA."

Tony Rayns

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