'Beat' Takeshi -Japan's most popular and charismatic star plays the lead role in this very original tale of the last days of a tough Tokyo gangster. 'Beat' Takeshi plays Murakawa , an established and ruthless Yakuza, sent outside his usual turf to intervene in gang war on the tropical island of Okinawa. Things go badly wrong and he and his gang get caught into the crossfire. Forced to retreat to seaside hideaway they kill time and fool around on the beach, but then their enemies start to pick them off. Takeshi decides to go on the offensive for a final and breathtaking showdown...
Kitano's first masterpiece.
- Sonatine review by CP Customer
Sonatine tells the story of middle aged yakuza boss Murakawa who is ordered to take his gang to Okinawa to settle a minor gangland conflict and return peace to the area. However, when they arrive they are attacked and are forced to retreat to the beach and wait until they get further orders from their Tokyo bosses. While the gang members seem content to relax and play on the beach, their fun comes to an abrupt end as they find themselves being bumped off one by one until Murakawa decides to face his rivals head on. If you've never experienced a Takeshi Kitano film before then 'Sonatine' is a good indicator as to what to expect; beautifully shot, minimal dialogue, absorbing characters, sensitive, witty, stylish, emotional and spellbinding to watch. The term 'genius' is used far to liberally these days, but in Takeshi Kitano's case it's very well deserved, it's hard to think of any other contemporary director who consistently makes films of such high quality and in years to come will be considered some of the most significant in world cinema.
This is the best gangster film I've ever seen. Others like The Long Good Friday, Goodfellas and Sexy Beast come close but this is top dog as it is a true original. A Yakuza gang get sent down to Okinawa to squash a seemingly insignificant beef - instead it's a power move to squeeze out overachieving crime lord, Murakawa played by Takeshi Kitano. Kitano also wrote and directed this and it was his breakout film in Europe. Yes, it's the same Takeshi fromTakeshi's Castle. The Japanese couldn't take this guy seriously as a gangster - imagine Chris Tarrant playing making the equivalent of Goodfellas? Anyway, Sonatine is excellent because it's bursts of violence are quick, scary and creatively shot. The climatic gunfight is totally original... Strangely enough,humour has a place too as the gangsters while away their downtime playing frisbee and Russian roulette the beach...