Beyond Outrage: What Happens When Old Gangsters Do Not Want to Become Bankers
In my 2011 review of Takeshi Kitano's gangster film Outrage, I wrote, "The best thing about Outrage is not the story (which is simple) or acting (which is fine enough) or music (which has its moments). Its greatness is almost entirely found in the editing, which is cool, exact, minimalist, and rhythmically modern." This appraisal is even more true for his latest gangster film, Beyond Outrage—which is not, by the way, strictly a follow-up to Outrage.
Set in Japan's urban yakuza underground, Beyond Outrage is about the tension between old gangster values of loyalty, commitment to codes, and a respect for seniors, and new values that place money above all concerns—values that indeed cannot be distinguished from those of legitimate financial institutions. On one side are gangsters who want to focus on things like derivatives and hedge funds; on the other side are gangsters who want to keep things real and deep. One side is the yakuza in its modern capitalist form; the other side is the yakuza in its pre-capitalist and more rural form.
Now recall the sample that opens Burial's numinous and dubby track "Gutted." That sample, which is from Jim Jarmusch's great hiphop movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and involves a short scene between Forest Whitaker and the greatest African face in cinema, Isaach De Bankolé, goes like this: "We're from different ancient tribes. And now, we're both almost extinct. But sometimes... you gotta stick with the ancient ways. The old-school ways. I know you understand me.” This is exactly how the older and more traditional gangsters feel about things. But, of course, the tension between the past and the future leads to lots and lots of brilliantly edited (the genius of the movie) violence. In the end, no one loses and no one wins.