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Tattooed Life

Released Oct 7, 1966 1h 27m Drama List
Reviews 84% Audience Score 100+ Ratings After his own gang sets him up to kill a rival mobster, a hit man is forced to flee with his younger brother. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member Great yakuza tale about redemption and the the possibility of a new second chance, this film has so much to offer fans of the genre. An engaging set of characters with their own well developed motivations, great cinematography, and a brutal and yet beautiful showdown sequence at the finale which is equal parts Zatoichi and Warhol. Also, I have to mention the incredibly beautiful actress whom plays Midori, why were actresses like that only making movies in the 1960's? Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Seijun Suzuki (who died earlier this year at 93) was famous for his wackily surreal yakuza flicks (Tokyo Drifter, 1966, and Branded to Kill, 1967), so it comes as some surprise that this earlier film is rather lacklustre. That isn't to say it doesn't contain some inventive sequences, particularly the climactic battle at the end, but too often it plays like a 1950s drama splashed on the widescreen but with little edge to the proceedings. Or perhaps I was just disappointed relative to my expectations- there is eccentricity here but not enough! Hideki Takahashi plays Tetsu, a yakuza everyman on the run after he and his brother Kenji (Kotobuki Hananomoto) kill a rival gangster. Tetsu has been raising (and sheltering) sensitive Kenji since their parents died but Kenji has ideas of his own once they settle down as small town construction workers (coveting the boss's wife and causing problems as a result). In the end, Tetsu reveals his yakuza past (previously hidden) and stands up against another rival gang threatening to take over the construction business (after Kenji meets foul play). And thus we get the climactic battle, shown from all angles. Start elsewhere with Suzuki (or perhaps start here and be pleasantly surprised by the other films). Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member Though it's the weakest of the Suzuki movies that I've seen, Tattooed Life still shouldn't be missed by fans of the director because of the epic finale. Expressionistic almost to the point of being dream-like, it is one of the coolest fight scenes in all of movies. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Two brothers leave their Yakuza past behind to become drifters. The older brother was Yakuza and wants the best for his younger brother, but after his younger brother kills a rival gangster, they are both forced to flee. With the authorities hot on their trail, they come across a small mining community where they get a job as minors, assimilating themselves into the community. This film takes place in a time where tattoos were a clear marking of the Yakuza and they wore tattoos almost as if it was a layer of armor. The older brother tries to escape his Yakuza past, but he is marked for life. Tattooed Life is a gangster melodrama that is very typical of Sijun Suzuki. Although it's not soaked in style as some of his greater efforts Tattooed Life does features some of Suzuki's style, particularly towards the end of the film. The film lacks the acting and pacing of some of his better efforts, but it still is a solid entry in Suzuki's Canon. In fact, the climax of this film is gorgeous and lush with some great choreography. No doubt, Suzuki was a big influence on Tarantino. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Not a huge fan of Seijun Suzuki's films but if I had to pick a favorite it would have to be this one. Hideki Takahashi owns in the role of Tetsu, a reformed Yakuza hitman who desperately wants to keep his talented artist kid brother Kenji from following in his footsteps, so he and his brother hope to go on the lam and end up in another country but that falls short when a con man steals their money and forces them to take jobs on a construction site. The Yakuza are hot on Tetsu's trail and its only a matter of time before one of the greatest one man sword battles is set into play. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review Audience Member Suzuki's storytelling is almost always overshadowed by his sense of style but that doesn't mean it's bad. Sure, it's almost cookie cutter but I believe he knows how to balance style and substance pretty well even if his style carries most everything else. There's genuine moments of sadness in this movie and it's surprisingly not as slow as you may think and it does build up until the last five minutes into a finale that' unforgettable. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Tattooed Life

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis After his own gang sets him up to kill a rival mobster, a hit man is forced to flee with his younger brother.
Director
Seijun Suzuki
Producer
Masayuki Takagi
Screenwriter
Kei Hattori, Kinya Naoi
Distributor
Home Vision Entertainment
Production Co
Nikkatsu Corporation
Genre
Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 7, 1966, Wide
Runtime
1h 27m