Branded To Kill
R0 - America - Criterion Collection
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (22nd January 2005).
The Film

I only realized more than an hour into this thing that it's supposed to be a joke. After I figured that the movie made a lot more sense. It's a very dark movie. It's a very odd movie. It's the most bizarre assassin movie I've ever seen. It concerns the (mis)adventures of Killer No. 3. It shows his life including both his job and his lovelife.
Director Seijun Suzuki (Tokyo Drifter) was fired from Nikkatsu studios after making this movie. I can see why. It's very, very different and I don't think one single scene would have been able be put in a Hollywood movie of the time. There are pretty graphic love scenes (for the time) and some bullet hits are pretty graphic as well. The seduction scenes are some of the most
The plot is hard to follow, with things being shown more than explained. You have to make your own connection between scenes, there are about a half million jump cuts in this movie. That's always nice to have, it involves the audience a lot more. Some of the things that happen come out of nowhere. If you're looking for an explanation of the plot (you know, the 'why' of the events in the movie), it comes around but it makes absolutely no difference. The plot would go on whether or not it's explained or not.

Video

2.35:1 letterbox (non-anamorphic). The picture is in black and white and the contrast in this print is very good. There are specks around, and a tiny streak or two, but it's Criterion so I'm sure the print was a lot worse off before. The detail is good enough. It's an okay picture but remember this movie was made back in 1967.

Audio

Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. There are more gunshots in this one and they're heard well. The rest of the sound is fine. The music is heard well enough and the dialogue is clear enough so you can hear what you should hear (if you understand Japanese). English subtitles are optional.

Extras

Seijun Suzuki Interview, this lasts about 14 minutes. It has Mr. Suzuki talking about learning how to make movies, the grammar of movies, stories from Branded to Kill, its star, why he was fired from the studio and that's it. It's not as interesting as his Tokyo Drifter interview, but it's still worth listening to. He doesn't remember much about making this movie but he said there were a lot of fun times.

Joe Shishido Poster Gallery, about 3 minutes long. It's just a bunch of posters from Mr. Suzuki's movie in a video collage. Good collection with some fun artwork. Good to have even though it's not much.

Overall

It's a very weird movie, with some very bizarre humour. You see No.3's utter lack of luck with women while being competent at his work. It's a nice (and sort of odd) contrast. The movie is different, to say the least, but it's a joy to watch, if you know what to expect. If you're out to try something new, try this. It should satisfy you. It's fun.

The Film: A Video: B- Audio: A Extras: C Overall: B

 


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