A scene from SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, directed by Miike Takashi for Sony Pictures.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007, Miike Takashi)

This film reminds me of one of Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures presentations from the nineties. Sometimes they were good films. Sometimes Tarantino was just friends with the filmmakers.

He has a small role in Sukiyaki Western Django.

It’s a joke as a concept picture–what if you made a Western, set in Nevada, starring Japanese actors speaking English, some of them knowing how to speak it, some of them doing it phonetically, but played it straight. It’s not going for a funny script, it’s going for being funny through its absurdity, which makes it incredibly pointless, but probably very popular with people who dislike quality cinema and literature or like seeming contrarian on internet message boards.

There’s nothing to recommend it. Tarantino’s cameo’s awful. He’s getting to be a worse actor as he gets older.

Kurita Toyomichi’s photography is fantastic, but there’s only so much good lighting and good composition can do with a long, boring, lame joke.

It should be okay for Japanese filmmakers to make Westerns, set in Nevada, with Japanese actors playing Americans. Americans do it all the time. Or did it all the time (or made films with Chinese actors playing Japanese people). But Sukiyaki isn’t interested in presenting a real film. It mocks the idea of itself even having any quality.

Are there worse movies than Sukiyaki?

Yes.

Are there more useless movies, made with less artistic intent?

Maybe not.

But it has its fans, which means Tarantino needs to bring back Rolling Thunder.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Miike Takashi; written by Nakamura Masa and Miike; director of photography, Kurita Toyomichi; edited by Shimamura Yasushi; music by Endô Kôji; production designer, Sasaki Takashi; produced by Ôsaki Masato and Tohya Nobuyuki; released by Sony Pictures.

Starring Ito Hideaki (Gunman), Ando Masanobu (Yoichi), Satô Kôichi (Taira no Kiyomori), Momoi Kaori (Ruriko), Iseya Yûsuke (Minamoto no Yoshitsune), Ishibashi Renji (Village Mayor), Kimura Yoshino (Shizuka) and Quentin Tarantino (Piringo).

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