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Once Upon a Time in the East

Once Upon a Time in the East

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Django, Tarantino, Miike: These names alone are enough to tell anyone whether or not Sukiyaki Western Django is for them. If you only know the middle guy, don’t bother (and for shame!); if you know and like all three, you’ve probably already seen and blogged about the movie anyway.

Takashi Miike’s career spans some 40 feature films, twenty direct-to-video releases, a dozen or so works for television, and a stage adaptation of Zatoichi. He’s known to popular Western audiences, if at all, for his excruciating 1999 psycho-horror Audition. And whereas a lot of Miike’s work falls into this genre, just as much falls outside of it or pushes its margins.

2001’s The Happiness of the Katakuris switches from TV-quality drama to lavish musical to claymation within seconds, and more than one of his films splices yakuza action with J-horror. Much of Miike’s most interesting films turn on playful genre-mashing, and Sukiyaki Western Django, as the title suggests, is itself a hot-pot of styles from Orient and Occident, re-appropriating Yojimbo back from the Italians and translating the image of Franco Nero’s laconic Django icon into that of a stubbly Japanese gunslinger.

Click here to read the rest of Leo Goldsmith’s review of Sukiyaki Western Django.

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